Source: Death to the World
July 21, 2017
…A double man, made from two natures
In an inexpressible wonder…
O paradoxical wonder
[You are] among… the creatures,
Both immaterial and material:
The material are the things that you see,
And the immaterial are angels.
Thus, among them are you
The living man, the double one:
Immaterial among the sensible [creatures] And sensible among the immaterial ones.
+ St Symeon the New Theologian, Hymn 53
As he looked on the vastness of the sky, contemplated the night stars and beheld the moon, the psalmist asked, “What is man, that Thou art mindful of him?” The question of the human person is an ancient itch that continues to gnaw away at us. No matter how much it is snuffed out, the same spirit that drove the psalmist to question the minuteness of man and his existence moves among us today. Far too often the person is spoken of within the presuppositions of Western philosophy and psychology, stripping man down to a biological monad and ascribing reason, self-knowledge, and consciousness to be the defining characteristics of his person. This unjust treatment of the person disregards the complex spiritual nature of man, a complexity experienced in revelation within the place of the heart. The human person, too often mitigated to the likeness of an animal, is the most profound of all creation, as St Basil writes, “A man thou art, but the only one of the animals to be deified.”
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