Come to your senses, my soul


[L]

In the sluggish carriage of the body my Soul journeys through this world of illusions, which are trying to prove their existence by means of their sluggishness and massiveness.

O Light-bearing Lord, how dreadfully and drunkenly stuck to this sluggish carriage my soul has become! In her blindness she thinks that, if she were to fall from this carriage, she would be able to fall down lower still--as though she were not standing on the same ashes whether on the wood or beneath the wood!


In her fear and ignorance my soul has entirely surrendered herself to the body, merely in order for the body to convey her as slowly and sluggishly as possible on the road to a disastrous end.

Her own lordship, her own reality--the only reality in this world-the soul has handed over to the body out of fear and ignorance. She has handed over a mirror to a blind man, and the blind man has shattered it into pieces.

Remember your beginning, O soul, when you were like a sunbeam and the body was like moonlight. Back then you were as piercing and transluscent as sunlight, and your carriage was as swift as moonlight.

At that time you used to know that essence was within you, and that your carriage was merely your shadow and something loaned to you. And you knew nothing of fear, for you had your sight and saw yourself borne aloft on the wings of power and immortality.

The sluggish carriage in which you are now riding, is what you yourself wanted of your own free will, according to your own fear and your own ignorance, and you yourself created it.

God did not wish to make you the way you are now, nor your body the way it is now. In order to rid yourself of some slight darkness, into which you were tossed by your desire, you plunged into denser and denser darkness, until you became altogether dark, became heavy, and made a garment for yourself--until you eventually surrendered all your dignity to your corpulent garment, just to rid yourself of fear.

You gave your essence to one who could not bear it, and thus you lost it in both ways; and you became a nonessential and frightful shadow like your body. For essence is a sacred object, and as soon as it is brought out into the bazaar to be bought and sold, it leaves both the buyer and the seller and drifts away from both to an equal extent.

Therefore even the great wise man of India has denied you essence, O soul--to you no less than to your bodily raiment. However, if God descends into you, and is born within you, you will gladden the saddened Hindu sage, who sits in lotus position and meditates, for you will have restored the lost essence. Truly, all essence lies in God, and outside God there is no essence, not even so much as a mustard seed.*

Behold, I see within you, my soul, a tiny nook, like a candle-illumined cave in a massive mountain overladen with darkness. The more deeply I peer into the light concealed within you, the more it seems to me to resemble your virginal beauty, your pristine beauty, my soul. Since my peering the dim light has been growing brighter, and more and more clearly one can distinguish in it the wondrous face of a virgin-­like a sunbeam arrayed in moonlight.

Here is your salvation, my frightened soul. Here is your life--everything else is a sepulchre. If only you would make this dim light burst into ablaze, and bring this blazing bonfire into my mind and into my heart.

Come to your senses, my soul, and fix your gaze on the little cave where the youthful virgin dwells. Lo, out of this cave deliverance will come to you. Within it even now you will find all your remaining strength, your unblemished beauty, and your unsold immortality.

Outside the cave, outside my soul, where a virgin gives birth to God, everything is shadow and ash, including the sluggish carriage of the body.
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*. Matt. 13:31-32 and 17:20.

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"As the Prophets saw, as the Apostles taught, as the Church has received, as the Teachers express in dogma, as the inhabited world understands together with them, as grace illumines, as the truth makes clear, as error has been banished, as wisdom makes bold to declare, as Christ has assured, so we think, so we speak, so we preach, honoring Christ our true God, and his Saints, in words, in writings, in thoughts, in sacrifices, in churches, in icons, worshiping and revering the One as God and Lord, and honoring them because of their common Lord as those who are close to him and serve him, and making to them relative veneration. This is the faith of the Apostles; this is the faith of the Fathers; this is the faith of the Orthodox; this faith makes fast the inhabited world."
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