The Sarabite: Towards an Aesthetic Christianity

There is a continuous attraction, beginning with God, going to the world, and ending at last with God, an attraction which returns to the same place where it began as though in a kind of circle. -Marsilio Ficino

Thursday, July 06, 2006

On Ecstasy

There is a story in the life of Elder Paisios of Mount Athos (+ c. 1994) that a man came to him who demonstrated great spiritual pride. The Elder then told him a story. The Elder was some time back in his cell praying, and then an immense light consumed him for an unknown amount of time. It was, of course, the Uncreated Light of God that the Christian East often talks about. He was thus enraptured in this divine joy for a timeless amount of time, but then, as suddenly as it came to him, it left. He was thus alone in his dark cell, and he felt thirsty. Then hungry. So he drank and ate, but while he was doing this, he felt so ashamed that he was enjoying these earthly pleasures while he had lost the celestial gift. He was a human being, again, and that brought tears to his eyes.

Of course, the elder told the proud man this story in order to make him see that this ecstasy was not a source of pride, but almost a punishment since he was still a sinful human being through his own fault. People mouth how they want to be closer to God. But when God comes too close, we will get burnt since we are not, nor will we ever be, ready to receive him here below.

Be thankful, then, for the dark night.


At 9:15 PM, Blogger Frank Partisan said...

The parable was far from my reality. No surprise.

I enjoyed reading it.



Post a Comment

<< Home