Saturday, August 31, 2013

Aquinas, St. Symeon The New Theologian and Their Spiritual Kin

Live your life so that water tastes like wine.
(Or, lacking the "miracle," be thankful for water as if it were wine.)

Aquinas observes that love infuses joy in the will.  “The soul’s joy, flowing over into the body, fills it with happiness in the form of health and incorruptible vigor.”[vii]  

He infuses love in us as a gift; and that gift, or grace, is a foretaste of glory. God’s love descends to us, and our created intellect, with all its limitations, rises toward God. We love God as the root of our happiness. Furthermore, we can love God wholeheartedly.  Love brings us toward union with God, a union that we can feel now, though the feeling is not a sign that we are God. 

Our response to God’s love is voluntary; it is an act of will, so we are not a mere channel for God’s self-expression.

Elsewhere Aquinas notes that The Only-begotten Son of God, wanting us to be partakers of his divinity, assumed our human nature so that, having become man, he might make men gods.

Kindred Views

Let us applaud and give thanks that we have become not only Christians but Christ himself. Do you understand, my brothers, the grace that God our head has given us? Be filled with wonder and joy—we have become veritable Christs!—St. Augustine of Hippo

He has given us all the things that we need for life and for true devotion, bringing us to know God himself... through them you will be able to share the divine nature.— II Peter 1:3-4a

In this way we are all to come to unity in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God, until we become the perfect Man, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself.—St. Paul, Ephesians 4:13

Souls wherein the Spirit dwells, illuminated by the Spirit, themselves become spiritual, and send forth their grace to others. Hence comes . . . abiding in God, the being made like to God, and, highest of all, the being made God.—St. Basil the Great, On the Spirit.

"the highest of all things desired is to become God."—St Basil the Great

Morality is indispensable: but the Divine Life, which gives itself to us and which calls us to be gods, intends for us something in which morality will be swallowed up. We are to be remade. . . . we shall find underneath it all a thing we have never yet imagined: a real man, an ageless god, a son of God, strong, radiant, wise, beautiful, and drenched in joy.—C. S. Lewis, The Grand Miracle


At the other extreme of the Christian spectrum, we see the sectarian corruption of all that is good. 


"I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said "Stop! Don't do it!" "Why shouldn't I?" he said. "Well, there's so much to live for!" "Like what?" "Well... are you religious?" He said yes. I said, "Me too! Are you Christian or Buddhist?" "Christian." "Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant ? "Protestant." "Me too! Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?" "Baptist" "Wow! Me too! Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?" "Baptist Church of God!" "Me too! Are you original Baptist Church of God, or are you reformed Baptist Church of God?" "Reformed Baptist Church of God!" "Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915?" He said, "Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915!" I said, "Die, heretic scum", and pushed him off.”  Emo Phillips


St. Symeon the New Theologian 

(St. Symeon preferred the experience of divinity to faith.)

Christ’s Body

We awaken in Christ’s body
as Christ awakens our bodies,
and my poor hand is Christ, He enters
my foot, and is infinitely me.
I move my hand, and wonderfully
my hand becomes Christ, becomes all of Him
(for God is indivisibly
whole, seamless in His Godhood).
I move my foot, and at once
He appears like a flash of lightning.
Do my words seem blasphemous? — Then
open your heart to Him
and let yourself receive the one
who is opening to you so deeply.
For if we genuinely love Him,
we wake up inside Christ’s body
where all our body, all over,
every most hidden part of it,
is realized in joy as Him,
and He makes us, utterly, real,
and everything that is hurt, everything
that seemed to us dark, harsh, shameful,
maimed, ugly, irreparably
damaged, is in Him transformed
and recognized as whole, as lovely,
and radiant in His light
he awakens as the Beloved
in every last part of our body.

 Symeon the New Theologian, (949-1022), published in The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry, edited by Stephen Mitchell. 

St. Symeon's biography at "Orthodox Wiki":


"John Ford, John Wayne and Christian Theosis (Divinization)"

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