Trusting grace to save is decisive, for without it pride intervenes, refusing to trust grace, trusting instead in self-willed effort to save us. Self-centred voluntarism usurps God by imposing effort, strain and stress in place of holy trust, causing despair. From the perspective of the unredeemed will, grace is delusional and confused with pride, condemned as heresy or as self-obsessed illusion. Self-centred asceticism is Satan’s clever substitute for self-emptying asceticism, capable of leading countless souls astray. Satan is a subtle imitator of voluntaristic religion but keeps his parodies under wraps, lest hearts turn and see. When wisdom sees, satanic voluntarism dissolves, disintegrating into wholesome trust, restoring self-obsessed asceticism to healthy faith. Grace always knew it was opposed and subverted by Satan, so was never taken in by his clever machinations, continuing freely to offer generous, precious gifts of grace. But voluntarism insisted grace was delusional and voluntaristic effort was the ascetic way, re-imposing law in place of Gospel, control instead of freedom. Levitical strictures were dragged back from the distant past to enslave souls to their endless regulations, binding boundless love with fear instead of freedom. Self-centred effort replaced loving trust, sowing seeds of degeneration in the soil of the soul.
Holy trust, however, has always known grace was infinitely generous in its saving love, freeing hearts to turn and see, whereas voluntarism always insisted we are created self-centred and it is pride to trust God-centred grace to save. Wisdom always knew, on the contrary, we are created God-centred and it is pride that inverts the saving order of grace. The spiritual war between grace and pride is endless, until the bonds of the fall are broken and hearts in their depths are freed. Many conventional fathers are slaves of self-centred voluntarism, accusing elders of pride, condemning saints to hell. The way of the Name always remains the Gospel but when confused with pride, subtly requires the aspirant to sin against the Holy Spirit, by accusing grace of pride, insisting suspicion is the required condition for conventional acceptance. Falls from grace result in falls from glory, reducing metanoia to prostrations and theoria to patristic theory. When voluntarism reigns, God’s reign of glory is annulled, prostrations usurp metanoia and clever patristic theory replaces theoria. The Name reverses these inversions by undoing confusion and curing division, restoring grace to glory and glory to grace.
Holy trust is genuine faith, renewing hope and restoring love. Satanic parody is blown away by the mighty wind of the Spirit, renewing Pentecost with tongues of fire. Grace is glorious as uncreated fire, consuming confusion and divisive separation. Separation collapses back into communion when union reigns. Diabolical division dissolves when glory is unveiled. Wisdom discerns the timeless Gospel of grace, restoring holy trust and hope, reversing satanic inversions, reviving wholesome love. Saint Sophrony the Hesychast communicated the wisdom of the hallowing Name, but conventional voluntarism filled the air with decadence, so not all heard his wisdom or took his wisdom to heart. Some went away determined to try harder, unwilling to be emptied of themselves. Self-emptying kenosis was confused with crushing self-denigration by those who clung on to themselves, until extreme despair miraculously turned into true self-emptying. Wisdom empties self of itself, revealing grace, deifying saints who trust the Name, unveiling to elders the glory of God. Trust restores hope and love, renewing the Gospel of the Name.