Raised from despair to glory

IF you are ignorant of these matters, dear friends, do not throw yourself into despair, saying: “I neither know these things, nor can learn them: I have no strength to come up to, to reach the height of this knowledge, this contemplation, this cleansing.”

Again, do not say: “Because, if it is true that unless a man in this life ‘puts on Christ’ (cf. Eph 4:24) who is God himself, and beholds all that he is, and acquires him, indwelling, for himself, he shall not come to his kingdom, what use is it to someone like me, to struggle to a limited degree, or to go without the consolations of this life?”

Do not say this, do not reason like this: but if you wish, listen to my advice, and I will tell you the way of salvation, by the grace and co-operation of the All-Holy Spirit.

BELIEVE, first of all, with all your soul that all the things which we said in accordance with the divine and god-breathed Scriptures are really true, and that every one believing in the Son of God ought to become so, since he has given to us the authority to become sons of God, and if we so wish, nothing can prevent it. […]

For unless you believe that these things really and truly happen, you will never seek them; and if you do not seek them, you will not receive them. “For seek ye (said he) and ye shall find; ask, and it shall be given unto you” (Mt 7:7).

But the one who believes, he follows the Holy Scriptures; and do everything that they tell you, and you will find everything is unfailingly just as they have said it, or rather, in many matters, more than is in the Holy Scriptures (cf. Jn 14:12).

What things are those? “Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, and they have not gone up into man’s heart”, the good things “which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Cor 2:9).

If you believe them confidently, as was said, just like St Paul you too you will see these good things, no two ways about it; not only that, but you will also hear things said that are unutterable, you will be snatched up into Paradise, unmistakably (2 Cor 12:1-6). What is this paradise? It is where the thief went with Christ, and where he now is (Lk 23:39-43).

St Symeon the New Theologian, from his “Moral Speeches”. Original (and another translation) at Elleporos.


WE BLESS thee, O God most high and Lord of mercy, who ever doeth unto us things great and unsearchable, glorious things and things beyond our deserving, which cannot be numbered. […]

We thank thee, because thou hast not destroyed us together with our sins, but hast loved mankind as is thy wont, and hast raised us up, who lay in despair, to give glory unto thy might.

From a Prayer of St Basil, said at Morning Prayers.