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Mystic Treatises

Isaac of Nineveh: Mystic Treatises (XIV)

Trad. A. J. Wensinck

segunda-feira 18 de outubro de 2021, por Cardoso de Castro

XIV AS TO WHEN THOSE WHO LIVE IN SOLITUDE BEGIN TO KNOW, EVEN TO A SLIGHT EXTENT, HOW FAR THEY HAVE ADVANCED IN THEIR SERVICE IN THE UNFATHOMABLE SEA OF SOLITARY LIFE SO THAT THEY ARE ABLE TO HAVE CONFIDENCE SOMEWHAT ON THEIR LABOURS THAT THEY BEGIN TO BEAR FRUIT

I shall tell thee a thing at which thou must not laugh; for I tell the truth. Do not doubt it, for those from whom I have received it, are trustworthy.

If thou hangest on they eyelids before God, do not think that in behaviour thou hast reached anything till tears come forth; for thy hidden being still ministers unto the world. This means, that thou art on the same stage of behaviour with faithful lay people. For thou workest with thy outward man in the service of God but the inward man is still without fruits. His fruits begin at the point which I have indicated. When thou hast reached the place of tears, then understand that the spirit has left the prison of this world and set its foot on the way towards the new world. Then it begins to breathe the wonderful air which is there, and to spend tears. For now the throes caused by the spiritual child, become vehement. And grace, the common mother, hastily delivers, as it were, the soul, God’s image, unto the light of the world to-come. And when the time of birth is come, then the mind will perceive a something belonging to that world, like a faint perfume, which the child has received in the members into which it has grown.

But he who does not patiently bear what is unusual, will move his body with weeping mingled with joy which excels the sweetness of honey. Together with the growing of the child within there will be an increase of tears. The stream of tears begins when the spirit begins to become serene. I mean the flowing of tears belonging to the stage which I have described, not that partial one, which takes place from time to time.

This consolation which takes place from time to time, will come to pass to every one who serves God in solitude. Sometimes during spiritual contemplation. Sometimes when hearing or reading the words of the scriptures. Sometimes while occupied with beseechings.

But I propose to speak of that complete one, which continues night and day without a break, and which comes to him who has found truth, in solitude by the sincerity of his behaviour, when the eyes become fountains of water for a period of nearly two years. This happens during a transition-period; I mean symbolical transition. At the end of the period of tears thou wilt reach peace of deliberations; and by this peace of deliberations thou wilt reach the divine rest of which Paul speaks, rest in part, according to (our) nature.

From the beginning of (this period of) rest onward, the mind will see hidden things. Then the Holy Ghost will begin to reveal unto it heavenly things, while God dwells in thee and promotes spiritual fruits in thee. Then thou wilt perceive the state which the whole nature will receive in the renewal of all things, dimly and mysteriously.

This I have written to the profit of myself and of every one who comes across this book, being that which I have attained by contemplation of the scriptures and from the mouth of veracious men (and to a small part by experience) that I also may gain profit by the prayers of those who have gained profit from these things, because I have toiled upon them.

Listen also to another thing which I tell thee, as I have heard it from a mouth that does not lie: As soon as thou hast entered this place where the deliberations are set at peace, then the violence of weeping is again taken from thee and thou readiest the state of moderation.

This is the exact truth in a few words; and it is true and confirmed by the whole church, by the excellent among her sons and by her chief protagonists.


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