April 5, 2018
We continued our discussion of Homily 37 and began with St. Isaac’s distinction between revelations and visions. Visions are concrete appearances of the incorporeal world such as angels and saints and are consolation for those who have embraced the anchoritic life in particular. Stripped of all worldly attachments God strengthens and encourages such individuals for the ascetic life. Revelations however come to the perfect and pure of heart and give insights into eschatological future states. The intellect (Nous) is engaged and participated in the Kingdom. It is an inward mystical experience.
The fathers, including Isaac, make these distinctions because of the dangers of prelest or delusion. Purity of heart is essential. A man must be free from outside modes of knowledge and embrace a kind of primordial simplicity and guilelessness.
It is in this profound childlike and humble state that God can raise one up to experience his love and life. Such purity comes through spiritual mourning and compunction. Humbled by the truth He raises us up. This is not raw emotionalism but rather a life wholly directed toward God and desiring Him. Such weeping purifies memory and imagination so that nothing holds a person back from God.