Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Illumination - Gifts of the Holy Spirit

At our Baptism and Chrismation we receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  But as long as we are dominated by the passions these gifts are not fully active.  They are hidden or covered.  Once we remove the passions then these gifts work in our consciousness.
Fr. Dimitru Staniloae says,
Only after the termination of the work of purification, driven especially by the powers of Baptism and of repentance, does the work of the gifts of the Holy Spirit appear first and foremost.
It is during the stage of Purification where we work to overcome the work of the passions where we begin to feel increasingly the power of the Holy Spirit.  He then works later to bring to our consciousness full illumination of the truths.

There are said to be seven gifts of the Holy Spirit:
     Fear of God to help overcome sinfulness.
     Spirit of strength to live by the virtues.
     Spirit of counsel to give us the skill of discernment.
     Spirit of understanding to realize how blessings have been revealed to us to gain virtues.
     Spirit of knowledge to know the deeper motivation of each command and virtue.
     Spirit of comprehension to know the meaning of things by identification with them.
     Spirit of wisdom which is the simple contemplation of truth of all things.

St. Maximus the Confessor describes wisdom as follows:
By this we know as far as is humanly possible, in an unknown way, the simple logoi of things found in God; we take out the truth from everything, as from a gushing spring of the heart, and we also share it in different ways with others.
It is the gifts of the Holy Spirit that guide us in the knowledge of God.  Again Fr. Dimitru cautions,
Only after the mind is cleansed not only from the passions but also from simple images and representations of things, will the direct knowledge of God be produced... 
The work of the Holy Spirit is like a light shining into a dark room.  As the light increases, the contents of the room become known.  Through illumination the Spirit will illumine our consciousness so that we are filled with divine light.  With this light all things become transparent and their meaning and relationship with God become very clear.  We are enabled to penetrate beneath the surface of things.

Fr. Dimitru says
Only in the measure in which someone becomes transparent to himself, are things made transparent to him, because this power which works in him later reaches the exterior... for the eyes of our soul to see the light of intelligible and divine realities, that is the depths of things, they must first be filled with the light which radiates from these depths.  In him who sees must be found something of what is seen.
Through the contemplation of things of the created world and the words of Scripture, we are led to a deeper illumined knowledge.

Reference: Orthodox Spirituality, pp 195 - 202


  1. Is this from I Corinthians Chapter 12?

  2. Not exactly but it does amplify the insight the spirit brings when we remove the passions, making our gifts clear and much more.


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