We continued to follow Abba Theonas' discussion with Germanus and Cassian on Theoria and the obstacles to lasting contemplation. Theonas drives home the experience of wretchedness of the holy individual who is pulled away from contemplation of God by distraction and the weakness of the fleshly mind. We "Fall" from contemplation and if we had a true sense of the loss that that is to us we too would experience deep compunction. Yet, it is the action of constantly turning back to God that brings the holy soul the immediate outpouring of God's grace. The anguished longing and desire of the soul is met by the immediate desire of God for renewed union.
The group sought to understand this through the place where we all experience the deepest intimacy with God - the Mass. In a world that fosters distraction and celebrates noise, it is easy for us to lose a kind of "custody of the eyes" - or custody of the Nous (the eye of the heart) that keeps us focused on the gift of love that is being offered to us and the sacrifice through which it has been made possible. Only one who has tasted the sweetness of God's loves can understand the "Wretchedness" that St. Paul speaks of and the desire to be delivered from this body of death. The deeper the love, the greater the pain at losing sight of the Beloved!
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