Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Sanctifying Value of the Stillness

In the Scripture we are told to labour to enter into His Rest. This rest we are told to enter is an inner state of Stillness, that we are drawn to by the Spirit, that is the same as the rest that Christ entered when He ascended, then offered His blood on the heavenly altar and finally seated at the right hand of the Father.  Because the Father cannot be seen of conceived of, to be seated at His right hand is to  be seated in a place where all thought has ceased, for He is beyond conception.  Because it is a seating in the heavenlies in Christ it is also the place of absolutely satisfying Presence of the Divine. 
The Fathers describe a transition in the life of prayer and this is the descent of the 'nous' into the heart.  The nous is the eye of the heart and when it returns to the heart, it sees intuitively  as in a mirror the heavenly vision.
When this first happened to me, I was utterly amazed and discovered that my daily routine of prayer facilitated the daily return of the nous to the heart.
After a period of time I noticed that, whereas my 'nous' would descend into the rest, it was not a given, that it would be seated in the rest.  The rest of God beckoned me on, but I discovered that I would find my thoughts going this way and that, or else I was really desiring to be somewhere else than in hesychastic prayer.  I discovered that when the Lord showed me these things,  He was showing me subtle idolatries that emanated from my heart, and which required simple confession. And as they were confessed the beatitude of the Stillness would come and then I would find perfect rest and contement simply to be before the Father, ineffably, in Christ.
The Stillness, then, served as a perfect backdrop as it were, to reveal the idolatrous motions of my heart and to offer them to the Lord for His dispositions. 

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