Saturday, January 29, 2011
Don't Put Yourself in Despair - Mή εἰς ἀπόγνωσιν ἐμβάλῃς σεαυτόν
From the Moral Speeches of St Symeon the New Theologian
Εἰ ἀγνοεῖς ταῦτα, ἀγαπητέ, μὴ εἰς ἀπόγνωσιν ἐμβάλῃς σεαυτὸν λέγων· “Ἐγὼ ταῦτα οὔτε οἶδα οὔτε μαθεῖν δύναμαι· οὔτε μὴν εἰς τὸ ὕψος τῆς γνώσεως ταύτης καὶ θεωρίας καὶ καθαρότητος φθάσαι καὶἀνελθεῖν ἰσχύσω ποτέ”. Μηδὲ πάλιν εἴπῃς· “Ἐπειδή, ἐὰν μή τις τοιοῦτος γένηται καὶ τὸν Χριστὸν ἀπ᾿ ἐντεῦθεν ἤδη ὡς Θεὸν ἐπενδύσηται καὶ αὐτὸν ἐκεῖνον ὅλον θεάσηται καὶ ἔνοικον ἑαυτοῦ τοῦτον κτήσηται, εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν αὐτοῦ οὐκ εἰσέρχεται, τί μοι τὸ ὄφελος κἂν ποσῶς ἀγωνίζεσθαι ἢ καὶ τῶν παρόντων ὑστερεῖσθαι τῆς ἀπολαύσεως;” Μή δὴτοῦτο εἴπῃς, μή δὴ λογίσεσαι· ἀλλ᾿ εἰ βούλει, ἄκουσόν μου τῆς συμβουλῆς καὶ ἀναγγελῶ σοι τὴν ὁδὸν τῆς σωτηρίας, τῆς χάριτος τοῦ παναγίου Πνεύματος συνεργούσης.
If you ignore these things, my beloved one, don’t put yourself in despair, saying, ‘I have not seen these things, nor can I ever know them; I will never have the power to reach and rise up to the height of this knowledge, contemplation and cleanness’. Don’t you say, again, ‘Because, if someone won’t become like this, to ware in himself the Christ as God in this life already, and see the Christ himself and whole, and take Him to dwell in himself, one won’t enter in His Kingdom, of what use is it to me to fight, even a little, or even to lose the current pleasures?’ Don’t say this; don't even think about it, but if you wish, listen to my advice and I will announce you the way of salvation, with the help of the Grace of the all-holy Spirit.
Πίστευσον οὖν ἐν πρώτοις ἐξ ὅλης ψυχῆς ὅτι οὕτως ταῦτα πάντα ἃ εἴπομεν κατὰ τὰς θείας καὶθεοπνεύστους Γραφὰς ἀληθῆ εἰσι καὶ οὕτως ὀφείλει γενέσθαι πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων εἰς τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἐπειδὴ ἔδωκεν ἡμῖν ἐξουσίαν υἱοὺς γενέσθαι Θεοῦ, καὶ ἐὰν θελήσωμεν, τὸ κωλύον οὐδέν. (...) Καὶ γάρ, εἰ μὴ πιστεύσεις ταῦτα οὕτως ἀληθῶς γίνεσθαι, πάντως οὐδὲ ζητήσεις· εἰ δὲ μὴ ζητήσεις, οὐδὲ λήψῃ· “Ζητεῖτε γάρ, φησί, καὶ λήψεσθε· αἰτεῖτε καὶδοθήσεται ὑμῖν” (Ματθ. 7.7). Πιστεύων δέ, ἀκολούθει ταῖς θείαις Γραφαῖς καὶ ὅσα σοι λέγουσι ποίησον, καὶεὑρήσεις πάντα ἀνελλιπῶς καθὼς γέγραπται, μᾶλλον δὲ καὶ πολλῷ πλείονα τῶν ἐν ταῖς θείαις Γραφαῖς. Ποῖα δὲ ταῦτα; “Ἃ ὀφθαλμὸς οὐκ εἶδε καὶοὖς οὐκ ἤκουσε καὶ ἐπὶ καρδίαν ἀνθρώπου οὐκ ἀνέβη” τὰ ἀγαθὰ “ἃ ἡτοίμασεν ὁ Θεὸς τοῖς ἀγαπῶσιν αὐτόν.“ (Α' Κορ. 2.9). Ταῦτα, εἰ πιστεύσεις βεβαίως, ὡς εἴρηται, θεάσῃ ἀναμφιβόλως ὡς ὁ Παῦλος καὶ σύ· οὐ μόνον δέ, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἀκούσεις ἄρρητα ῥήματα, προαρπαγεὶς δηλονότι εἰς τὸν παράδεισον. Ποῖον τοῦτον; Ὅπου ὁ ληστὴς μετὰ τοῦ Χριστοῦ συνεισῆλθε καὶ νῦν ἐκεῖ ἐστιν.
First of all, believe with all your soul that whatever we said according to the divine and god-inspired Scriptures, are all true, and that whoever believes in the Son of God has to become this, because He granted us power to become sons of God, and if we want it, nothing can stop us. (...) For it is certain, that if you won’t believe in these, that they happen indeed this way, you won’t ask for them to happen at all, and if you won’t ask you won’t receive. Because He says, "Seek, and ye shall find, ask, and it shall be given you" (Matt. 7.7). If you believe, follow the divine Scriptures and do what they say and you will find everything without exception as it is written - rather, you will find much more than what is in the godly Scriptures. And what are these? ‘What eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man’, the gifts ‘which God hath prepared for them that love him’ (1 Cor. 2.9). These gifts, if you believe with certainty, as we said, you will see, without any doubt at all, just as Paul, so you too - and not only this, but you will also hear ineffable words, since, as you understood, you will be seized to Paradise, even now. Which Paradise? Where the thief entered together with the Christ, and there now remains.
Posted by Orthodox Christian Resources at 6:00 PM