A colleague here at IPF sent me this magnificent reflection by the eastern Christian saint, Symeon the New Theologian, on our transcendent dignity as Christians. It’s long, but wonderfully rich.
We awaken in Christ’s body,
As Christ awakens our bodies
There I look down and my poor hand is Christ.
He enters my foot and is infinitely me.
I move my hand and wonderfully
My hand becomes Christ,
Becomes all of Him.
I move my foot and at once
He appears in a flash of lightning
Do my words seem blasphemous to you?
Then open your heart to him.
And let yourself receive the one
Who is opening to you so deeply.
For if we genuinely love Him,
We wake up inside Christ’s body
Where our body all over,
Every most hidden part of it,
Is realized in joy as Him
And he makes us utterly real.
And everything that is hurt, everything
That seemed to us dark, harsh, shameful,
Maimed, ugly, irreparably damaged
Is in Him transformed.
And in Him, recognized as whole, as lovely,
And radiant in His light,
We awaken as the beloved
In every last part of our body
What is this awesome mystery
That is taking place within me?
I can find no words to express it;
My poor hand is unable to capture it
In describing the praise and glory that belong
to the One who is above all praise,
and who transcends every word …
My intellect sees what has happened,
But it cannot explain it.
It can see, and wishes to explain,
but can find no word that will suffice;
for what it sees is invisible and entirely formless,
simple, completely uncompounded,
unbounded in its awesome greatness.
What I have seen is the totality recapitulated as one
Received not in essence but by participation.
Just as if you lit a flame from a flame,
It is the whole flame you receive.