24 March 2011

Climbing the Mountain of God

The contemplation of God is not effected by sight and hearing, and it is not comprehended by any of the customary perceptions of the mind, for eye has not seen and ear has not heard, nor do they have a place with any of those things which usually enter into the heart of man.

One who would approach the knowledge of sublime things first must purify his way of life from all sensual and irrational emotion. One must be cleansed from his understanding of every opinion formulated from some preconception and must withdraw himself from his customary intercourse with his sense perceptions, which are wedded to our nature as its companion. When one is so purified, then he assails the mountain.

The knowledge of God is a steep mountain and difficult to climb -- most people scarcely reach its base. If one were like Moses, he would ascend higher and hear the sound of trumpets which become louder as one advances. For the preaching of the divine nature is truly a trumpet blast, which strikes the hearing, already loud at the onset, but becoming louder at the end.

~ Saint Gregory of Nyssa, 'The Life of Moses' ~