Dazzling Depths

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Dazzling depths of wisdom reveal dizzying heights of glory in the revelatory Name, inspiring Abba Evagrius, the Macarian ‘Homilies,’ the writings of Saint Denys, Saint Symeon the New Theologian’s ‘Hymns of Love’ and the many writings of Saint Gregory Palamas with the experience (peira) of uncreated light of glory.  Ecstatic rapture is for beginners, says Saint Symeon, indicating that mature enlightenment is intrinsic to the experience of grace, not a special phenomenon or experience confined to an elite few. Experience is personal, but also common to all who experience the communion of saints.  It is the experience of the vision of God in Holy Trinity which Christ gives as he received it from the Father and the Spirit unveils as union with God by grace.  For it is by grace that grace reveals the glory of God, by uncreated light that light reveals the uncreated light of glory.  Grace-filled prophecy employs many metaphors to communicate mysteries of glory, each revealing the healing wholeness and ineffable completeness of timeless glory.

Although depths dazzle and heights dizzy the mind’s wondrous communion with God in glory, deifying communion embraces every aspect of our humanity, leaving nothing shut out from the gaze and kiss of grace.  Saint Symeon’s ‘Hymns of Love’ are explicit, showing deification is truly all-embracing.  Christ fills humanity with the wholeness of uncreated grace, boldly unveiling the fullness of uncreated glory in the saints, including the wine of uncreated communion.  Theophanies of glory are beloved by Scriptural prophecy, so fill the ‘Hymns of Love’ with poetic imagery awakening unceasing prayer.  The Holy of Holies was always a Bridal Chamber for the Song of Songs, inspiring glorification’s embrace of the gaze of wisdom with a kiss of peace.  But nuptial symbolism has always needed a mystical hermeneutic for it to be rightly interpreted and understood.

Uncreated glory transcends depths and heights when wisdom overflows from light to light, revealing dazzling glory.  The Name of glory reveals the Lord of glory, unveiling Christ’s face of glory to saints, illumining the City of God.  Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr, saw Christ in glory as he died, inspiring Saint Symeon the New Theologian to behold Christ in glory in his life.  The three Synoptic accounts of transfiguration unveil glory filling the Fourth Gospel from beginning to end, enabling that mystical Gospel to unveil Christ as all-embracing transfiguration.  There was actually nothing new about Saint Symeon’s theological vision, since it was the vision of glory that inspires the whole of Scripture and Patristic Tradition, but Saint Symeon renewed it in an age that was falling short of it.  Dizzying heights plunge deep into dazzling depths when height and depth unite in the transfigured heart, renewing the grace-filled wisdom of glorification.