A lamp, before it receives a flame and is lit, is completely in darkness

God is fire and is called this by all inspired scripture, while the soul of each of us is a lamp. Now a lamp, before it receives a flame and is lit, is completely in darkness, even if it’s full of oil, tow or other combustible matter. By the same token, even if the soul is adorned with all the virtues, unless it receives the flame- that is unless it partakes of the divine essence and light- it’s still unlit and its works are uncertain. Everything must be tested and made manifest in the light.

Those whose lamp of the soul is still like this- that is, untouched by the divine fire- are in greater need of a guide with a torch, somebody who’ll discern their actions and, with compassion for the faults revealed to him in confession, will immediately correct the errors they’ve made. Those who walk at night can’t help but stumble, any more than those who haven’t seen the divine light can avoid fault. As Christ says: ‘Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. But those who walk at night stumble because they do not have the light in them’. When He said ‘in them’, He meant the immaterial light, since no one can have natural light in them.

“Saint Symeon the New Theologian”


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