Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers

theosis

27 Entries

... when the intellect has been perfected, it unites wholly with God and is illumined by divine light, and the most hidden mysteries are revealed to it. Then it truly learns where wisdom and power lie... While it is still fighting against the passions it cannot as yet enjoy these things... But once the battle is over and it is found worthy of spiritual gifts, then it becomes wholly luminous, powerfully energized by grace and rooted in the contemplation of spiritual realities. A person in whom this happens is not attached to the things of this world but has passed from death to life." St. Thalassios, "On Love, Self-control and Life in accordance with the Intellect" Philokalia (Vol. 2)", p. 355)



'Can a man take fire into his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?' (Prov. 6:27) says the wise Solomon. And I say: can he, who has in his heart the Divine fire of the Holy Spirit burning naked, not be set on fire, not shine and glitter and not take on the radiance of the Deity in the degree of his purification and penetration by fire? For penetration by fire follows upon purification of the heart, and again purification of the heart follows upon penetration by fire, that is, inasmuch as the heart is purified, so it receives Divine grace, and again inasmuch as it receives grace, so it is purified. When this is completed (that is, purification of heart and acquisition of grace have attained their fullness and perfection), through grace a man becomes wholly a god." St. Simeon the New Theologian (Practical and Theological Precepts no. 94, Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart; Faber and Faber pgs. 118-199)

...in the visible form of our nature the immortal God described the likeness of His invisible Being, and thus we apprehend eternity. Through prayer we enter into Divine life; and God praying in us is uncreated life permeating us. Archimandrite Sophrony (His Life is Mine, Chapter 8; SVS press pg. 66)

...while we are still in this life we shall often waver in our self-determining, hesitating whether to fulfill the commandments or give way to our passions. Gradually, as we struggle, the mystery of Christ will be revealed to us if we devote ourselves totally to obeying His precepts. The moment will come when heart and mind are so suffused by the vision of the infinite holiness and humility of the God-Christ that our whole being will rise in a surge of love for God." Archimandrite Sophrony (His Life is Mine, Chapter 13; SVS Press pgs. 93-94)

A person is perfect in this life when as a pledge of what is to come he receives the grace to assimilate himself to the various stages of Christ's life. In the life to come perfection is made manifest through the power of deification. St. Gregory of Sinai, Philokalia, Vol. 4

A true sanctuary, even before the future life, is a heart free from thoughts, made active by the Spirit. For there all is said and done spiritually. St. Gregory of Sinai (Texts on Commandments and Dogmas no. 7)

Because the Deity is goodness itself, true mercy and an abyss of loving bounty - or, rather, He is that which embraces and contains this abyss, since He transcends every name that is named (cf. Eph. 1:21) and everything we can conceive - we can receive mercy only by union with Him. St. Gregory Palamas (On Prayer and Purity of Heart no. 1, The Philokalia Vol. 4 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 343)

But we also know that the fulfillment of the commandments of God gives true knowledge, since it is through this that the soul gains health. How could a rational soul be healthy, if it is sick in its cognitive faculty? So we know that the commandments of God also grant knowledge, and not that alone, but deification also. St. Gregory Palamas, The Triads

But we also know that the fulfillment of the commandments of God gives true knowledge, since it is through this that the soul gains health. How could a rational soul be healthy, if it is sick in its cognitive faculty? So we know that the commandments of God also grant knowledge, and not that alone, but deification also. This we possess in a perfect manner, through the Spirit, seeing in ourselves the glory of God, when it pleases God to lead us to spiritual mysteries... St. Gregory Palamas (The Triads)

He will share in Christ's glory who, through being formed in Christ, has received renewal by the Spirit and has preserved it, and so has attained to ineffable deification. No one, there, will be one with Christ or be a member of Christ, if he has not become even here a receiver of grace and has not, thereby, become 'transformed by the renewal of' his 'mind' (Rom. 12:2). St. Gregory of Sinai (Texts on Commandments and Dogmas no. 42)

I think that the body of those incorruptible men is not even subject to sickness any longer, because it has been rendered incorruptible; for by the flame of purity they have extinguished the flame. I think that even the food that is set before them they accept without any pleasure. For there is an underground stream that nourishes the root of a plant, and their souls too are sustained by a celestial fire. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step30: Concerning the Linking Together of the Supreme Trinity Among the Virtues

It is my opinion that our intellect does not have a natural power to be moved to the divine vision of Divinity. And in this one deficiency we are the peers of all the celestial natures, for both in us and in them grace moves that which is alien by nature both to the human intellect and to the angelic. For divine vision concerning the Godhead is not to be numbered among the other kinds of divine vision. For we possess divine vision of the natures of things through participation in their twofold nature, because there is a portion of all things in us. But we do not have a portion of the nature of the Divine Essence, and so neither do we have by nature divine vision of it. The Ascetical Homilies of St. Isaac the Syrian.

Just as the body that benefits from clean air will acquire good health and will be kept pure, so too the soul that enjoys the divine words - as it were, God's wind - will be restored to health and rejuvenated in purity, and made holy. Its eye will be illumined so that it can gaze all the time on God. Just as is the case with the body's eye, provided it is open and clear, it never ceases to have its fill; so too it is with the illumined *eye* of the mind: provided it is straightforward and pure, it is occupied with spiritual vision; and when it is opened so as to peer into the mysteries of divine knowledge and into the world above, it will become even more illumined and purified, thus enabled to approach the essential light of the divinity that exists above the world. Chapter XI. Martyrius, The Syriac Fathers on Prayer and the Spiritual Life

Moses and David, and whoever else became vessels of divine energy by laying aside the properties of their fallen nature, were inspired by the power of God... They became living ions of Christ, being the same as He is, by grace rather than by assimilation... St. Gregory Palamas (Topics of Natural and Theological Science no. 76, The Philokalia Vol. 4 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 381)

The Son of God has become Son of Man in order to make us...sons of God, raising our race by grace to what He is Himself by nature, granting us birth from above through the grace of the Holy Spirit and leading us straightway to the kingdom of heaven, or rather, granting us this kingdom within us (Luke 17:21), in order that we should not merely be fed by the hope of entering it, but entering into full possession thereof should cry: our 'life is hid with Christ in God.' (Col. 3:3)." St. Simeon the New Theologian (Practical and Theological Precepts no. 120, Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart; Faber and Faber pg.26)

The dispensation of our God and Saviour concerning man is a recall from the fall, and a return from the alienation caused by disobedience to close communion with God. This is the reason for the sojourn of Christ in the flesh, the pattern of life described in the Gospels, the sufferings, the cross, the tomb, the resurrection; so that the man who is being saved through imitation of Christ receives the old adoption. For perfection of life the imitation of Christ is necessary, not only in the example of gentleness, lowliness, and long suffering set us in His life, but also of His actual death. So Paul, the imitator of Christ, says, `being made conformable unto His death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.' How then are we made in the likeness of His death? In that we were buried with Him by baptism. St. John Chrysostom, On The Holy Spirit

The grace of deification thus transcends nature, virtue and knowledge, and (as St. Maximus says) `all these things are inferior to it.' Every virtue and imitation of God on our part indeed prepares those who practice them for divine union, but the mysterious union itself is effected by grace. It is through grace that `the entire Divinity comes to dwell in fullness in those deemed worth,' and all the saints in their entire being dwell in God, receiving God in His wholeness, and gaining no other reward for their ascent to Him than "God Himself. The Triads, St. Gregory Palamas

The holy mystery of the day of the Holy Spirit, Pentecost, is to be understood in the following manner: the spirit of man must be completed and perfected by the Holy Spirit, that is, it must be sanctified, illuminated, and divinized by the Holy Spirit. This holy mystery is realized continually in the Church of Christ and because of this the Church is really a continuous Pentecost.... From Holy Pentecost, the day of the Holy Spirit, every God-like soul in the Church of Christ is an incombustible bush which continuously burns and is inflamed with God and has a fiery tongue within it. (St.) Fr. Justin Popovich, Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ

Three realities pertain to God: essence, energy, and the triad of divine hypostases. As we have seen, those privileged to be united to God so as to become one spirit with Him - as St. Paul said, 'He who cleaves to the Lord is one spirit with Him' (I Cor. 6:17) - are not united to God with respect to His essence, since all theologians testify that with respect to His essence God suffers no participation.

Moreover, the hypostatic union is fulfilled only in the case of the Logos, the God-man.

Thus those privileged to attain union with God are united to Him with respect to His energy; and the 'spirit', according to which they who cleave to God are one with Him, is and is called the uncreated energy of the Holy Spirit, but not the essence of God... St. Gregory Palamas (Topics of Natural and Theological Science no. 75, The Philokalia Vol. 4 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 380)



Thus the deifying gift of the Spirit is a mysterious light, and transforms into light those who receive its richness; He does not only fill them with eternal light, but grants them a knowledge and a life appropriate to God. Thus, as St. Maximus teaches, St. Paul lived no longer a created life, but "the eternal life of Him Who indwelt him." Similarly, the prophets contemplated the future as if it were the present. St. Gregory Palamas, The Triads

To contemplate this [Christ's] glory we must needs be in this glory. Otherwise we cannot see it. To apprehend, even dimly, 'Who this is?' (cf. Matt. 21:10) we must become like Him by abiding in His word. Whoever has not followed after Him in faith; who has not loved Him and therefore has not observed His commandments, cannot pronounce judgment, since he possesses no grounds for forming an opinion." Archimandrite Sophrony (His Life is Mine, Chapter 11; SVS Press pg 84)

We unite ourselves to Him [God], in so far as this is possible, by participating in the godlike virtues and by entering into communion with Him through prayer and praise. Because the virtues are similitudes of God, to participate in them puts us in a fit state to receive the Deity, yet it does not actually unite us to Him. But prayer through its sacral and hieratic power actualizes our ascent to and union with the Deity, for it is a bond between noetic creatures and their Creator. St. Gregory Palamas (On Prayer and Purity of Heart no. 1, The Philokalia Vol. 4 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg.343)

What then shall we call this power which is an activity neither of the senses nor of the intellect? How else except by using the expression of Solomon, who was wiser than all who preceded him: "a sensation intellectual and divine." By adding those two adjectives, he urges his hearer to consider it neither as a sensation nor as an intellection, for neither is the activity of the intelligence a sensation, nor that of the senses and intellection. The "intelligent sensation" is thus different from both. Following the great Denys [Dionysios the Areopagite], one should perhaps call it union, and not knowledge. "One should realize," he says, "that our mind possesses both an intellectual power which permits it to see intelligible things, and also a capacity for that union which surpasses the nature of the intellect and allies it to that which transcends it." St. Gregory Palamas, The Triads

Why am I thus compelled to tell your charity all that God, out of His thirst for our salvation, speaks to us? Simply, in order that through them all you may learn and be persuaded that those who sit in darkness must see the great Light shine, if only they look toward it, and also that none of you may think that though it shone in the past, it is impossible for men of the present day to see it while they are still in the body. St. Symeon the New Theologian, The Discourses (quoted in Isaiah Through the Ages by Johanna Manley).

You see how bright the sun and the stars are. "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun" from the inner immaterial light of God. Whenever the angels appear upon earth, they are almost always surrounded by light. Aspire to that enlightenment. Throw aside the works of darkness. We can raise our nature to communion with the Divine Nature; and God is the Light uncreated, surpassing every light that has been created. St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ

But also know that the fulfillment of the commandments of God gives true knowledge, since it is through this that the soul gains health. How could a rational soul be healthy, if it is sick in it's cognitive faculty? So we know that the commandments of God also grant knowledge, and not that alone, but deification also. St. Gregory Palamas

... when the intellect has been perfected, it unites wholly with God and is illumined by divine light, and the most hidden mysteries are revealed to it. Then it truly learns where wisdom and power lie... While it is still fighting against the passions it cannot as yet enjoy these things... But once the battle is over and it is found worthy of spiritual gifts, then it becomes wholly luminous, powerfully energized by grace and rooted in the contemplation of spiritual realities. A person in whom this happens is not attached to the things of this world but has passed from death to life." St. Thalassios, "On Love, Self-control and Life in accordance with the Intellect" Philokalia (Vol. 2)", p. 355)





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