September 22

When you become aware of increasing ardency in your inner faith and love for God, then you should know that you are bringing Christ to birth within yourself, and that it is He who exalts your soul above terrestrial and visible things and prepares a dwelling-place for it in heaven.

When you perceive that your heart is replete with joy, and poignantly longs for God’s unutterable blessings, then you should realize that you are activated by the divine Spirit.

And when you sense that your intellect is full of ineffable light and the intellections of supernal Wisdom, then you should recognize that the Paraclete is present in your soul, disclosing the treasures of the kingdom of heaven hidden within you; and you should guard yourself strictly as a palace of God and as a dwelling-place of the Spirit.

~Nikitas Stithatos

September 21

We must first purge ourselves of the vicious materiality prompted in us by the demons–this is the stage of purification; then, through the stage of illumination, we must make our spiritual eyes lucid and ever light-filled, and this is accomplished by means of the mystical wisdom hidden in God. In this way we ascend to the cognition of sacred knowledge, which through the intelligence imparts things new and old to those who have ears to hear.

Then we in turn must pass on to others images and intimations of this knowledge, conveying its hidden meaning to the purified while withholding it from the profane, least holy things be given to dogs, or the pearl of the Logos be cast before swine-like souls that would defile it (cf. Matthew 7:6).

~Nikitas Stithatos

A Lamentation

Have you cast me into outer darkness, O Lord?

Dear Lord, why have You forsaken me?

I search all day long for You, and do not find You.

I don’t know where You are, and am lost in searching.

 

Others, they mock me for my searching and say,

“God is nowhere to be found, why waste your time looking?”

They are content in their surroundings,

they grow fat on the wealth of the land.

 

But I am not comforted by the comforts of this place.

I yearn for You, and call upon Your name.

Why have you forsaken me?

You leave me alone in a desolate place, where I wait for You.

 

I grow weary in waiting, and my heart grows faint,

You are my only hope, and in You I put my trust.

Only come Lord, do not leave me here forsaken.

Do not cast me out, Lord, but come speedily to my aid.

 

Please do not let me be a fool, and an object of derision,

to those who place their trust in here and now.

Raise me up out of my misery, Lord, that they may know,

there is a God in heaven above and on earth below.

 

~FS

 

September 20

Simple and unified, the presence of divine light gathers within itself the souls that participate in it and converts them to itself, uniting them with its own unity, and perfecting them with its own perfection. It leads them to descry the depths of God, so that they contemplate the great mysteries and become initiates and mystagogues. Aspire, then, to be purified utterly through ascetic labor, and you will see these mysteries dear to God–of which I have spoken–actually at work within you.

~Nikitas Stithatos

September 19

Ignorance is terrible and more than terrible, a truly palpable darkness (cf. Exodus 10:21). Souls suckled on ignorance are tenebrous, their thought is fragmented, and they are cut off from union with God. Its upshot is inanity, since it makes the whole person mindless and insensate. Waxing gross, it plunges the soul into the depths of hell, where there is every kind of punishment and pain, distress and anguish.

Conversely, divine knowledge is luminous and endlessly illuminating: souls in which it has been engendered because of their purity possess a godlike radiance, for it fills them with peace, serenity, joy, ineffable wisdom and perfect love.

~Nikitas Stithatos

September 18

The tripartite deiform soul possesses two aspects, the one noetic and the other passible. The noetic aspect, being in the image of the soul’s Creator, is not conditioned by the senses, is invisible to them and is not limited by them, since it is both outside them and within them. It is by virtue of this aspect that the soul communicates with spiritual and divine powers and, through the sacred knowledge of created beings, ascends naturally to God as to its archetype, thus entering into the enjoyment of His divine nature.

The passible aspect is split up among the senses and is subject to passions and prone to self-indulgence. It is by virtue of this aspect that the soul communicates with the world that is perceptible to the senses and that fosters nutrition and growth; and sustenance for self-preservation, life, growth and health. Since the passible aspect is modified by what it comes into contact with, it is sometimes incited by impulses contrary to nature and develops disordered desires; at other times it is provoked and carried away by mindless anger, or is subject to hunger and thirst, to sorrow and pain, and finally to physical dissolution; it luxuriates in self-indulgence, but shrinks back from affliction. Thus it is rightly called the passible aspect of the soul, since it is to be found in the company of the passions.

When the noetic aspect of the soul holds sway and this mortal aspect is swallowed up by the Logos of life (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:4), then the life of Jesus is also manifested in our mortal flesh (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:11), producing in us the life-quickening deadness of dispassion, and conferring the incorruption of immortality in response to our spiritual aspiration.

~Nikitas Stithatos

September 17

The Logos justifiably rebukes the tardiness of those who drag out their time in the practice of the virtues and do not wish to advance beyond this and rise to the higher state of contemplation. ‘Fools and slow of heart,’ He calls them (Luke 24:25)–slow to place their trust in Him who can reveal the meaning of the contemplation of the inner principles of the created world to all who spiritually explore the depths of the Spirit.

For not to wish to progress from the initial struggles to those that are more advanced, and to pass from the ‘exterior’ or literal meaning of Holy Scripture to its inner or spiritual meaning, is a sign of the sluggish soul, one with no taste for spiritual profit and extremely resentful about its own advancement.

Such a soul, since its lamp has gone out, will not only be told to go and buy oil from those that sell it; but, finding the bridal chamber closed to it, it will also hear the words, ‘Go away, I do not know you or whence you come’ (cf. Matthew 25:9, 12).

~Nikitas Stithatos