Thursday, March 6, 2008

Overcoming the Attribute of Not Knowing

St Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain writes:
St Dionysios, that seer of the angelic attributes, tells us that all those other wordly angels and the whole heavenly hierarchy of bodiless minds do not neglect to acquire the knowledge possible to them regarding divine realities. They are moved by a fervent desire to learn always the higher and more sublime mysteries and to be more fully illumined by the light of God. Now, if these bodiless angels, the least of which is wiser than all the wise teachers among men, desire to lean, how much more, incomparably more, must we who are united to matter and to a body not neglect to study the divine knowledge but must seek to learn it from the Sacred Scriptures? Especially when we consider that men are by nature inextricably united to the attribute of not knowing. Moreover, the bishops who hold the highest office upon the earthly ecclesiastical order need this knowledge above all because they are called to perfect not only themselves, but also to enlighten and to teach others in a manner similar to that of the angels. Therefore, take not of St Basil's admonition: "let the listening of worldly stories be a bitter taste to you, but a honeycomb of sweetness the teachings of holy men." Therefore, avoid the many conversations of men as unprofitable and vain. For all these many reasons then be diligent in reading and meditating upon the Holy Scripture so that you may receive that blessing which says: "Blessed is the man... whose delight is in the law of the Lord and on His law he meditates day and night" (Ps. 1:1). Even when someone comes to you for a simple visit, even then let there be readings from Scripture to avoid vain talk. This way he too will receive benefit and be comforted if he truly loves learning. If, on the contrary, the person does not love to learn, but prefers vain talk, he will know your purpose and will not return to bother you.
From A Handbook of Spiritual Counsel.

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