"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." John 6:68


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Thursday of the Twenty-seventh week in Ordinary Time
Commentary of the day
Symeon the New Theologian (c.949-1022), Greek monk, saint of the Orthodox churches
Hymns, no. 29 (see SC 174, p.315f.)

"How much more will your Father in heaven give to those who ask him?"

Where did you come from? How did you find your way in, I mean,
to the interior of my cell, locked on every side?
How strange it is,
surpassing word or thought.
But that suddenly
you should wholly enter me,
that you should shine out,
letting yourself be seen in luminous form
like the moon when it is full:
this leaves me without any thought at all,
speechless, my God!
I know well that you are he
who came to illuminate
those who are sitting in darkness (Lk 1:79)
and I am stupefied,
I become deprived of sense and words
to see a strange wonder
surpassing all creation, nature, word…

How is it that God is outside the universe
by his essence and nature,
power and glory,
yet also dwells everywhere and in all things
but especially in the saints?
How is it he sets up his tent within them
in a perceptible and substantial way,
he who is totally beyond substance?
How is he contained in their inmost parts
who himself contains all creation?
How does he shine in their hearts,
fleshly and material?
How is it he exists within this person,
how is he outside all things
and himself fills all things?
How is it that, night and day,
he shines without being seen?

Tell me. Is it that man’s mind
can conceive all these mysteries
or be able to express them?
Certainly not! Neither an angel
nor an archangel could explain them to you;
they would be incapable of expressing these things with words.
It is God’s Spirit, then, who alone understands these mysteries
because he is divine
and who knows them because only he
shares the nature, majesty and eternity
with the Son and the Father.
Therefore it is to those for whom this Spirit brightly shines
and to whom he will be lavishly united
that he will manifest in inexpressible manner
all these things…
It is like a blind man: if he should see
he will first of all see the light
and then, too, all creation in the light, oh wonder!
So whoever has been enlightened
by the Holy Spirit in his soul
at once enters into communion with the light
and beholds the light -
God’s light, God in truth
who likewise shows him everything
or, rather, everything God decides,
everything he desires and wishes.
He grants to those he enlightens with his illumination
to see whatever is to be found in the divine light.

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