July 16, 2018

Prepare to Submerge Yourself in Silence

Someone—maybe from an atheistic point of view—once said, “Faith isn’t a virtue, it’s the glorification of voluntary ignorance.” Well, no truer words were ever written or spoken. Read this St. Ephrem the Syrian’s sermon on Faith if you don’t believe that’s the case—and prepare to submerge yourself in Silence…

The sea is mighty. If you want to fathom it, you will be overwhelmed by the force of its waves. One wave can sweep you away and dash you against a cliff. Suffice it, oh feeble being, to be able to trade in a boat. Faith is better for you than a boat on the sea. The boat, in fact, is guided by a rudder, but the tide can sink it. Your faith cannot sink, if your will does not wish it so. How desirable for the sailor to be able to manage the sea as he likes! He thinks in one way; the sea acts in another manner. Only Our Lord held sway over the sea, so that it became silent and stopped raging.
He also gave you the power to dominate a sea and calm it. Mightier than the sea is arguing and disputing is more violent than the waves. If the wind of inquiry rages in your mind, reprimand it and calm its billows! The storm tosses the sea about; your quibbles perturb your mind. Our Lord issues an order, the wind dies down and the boat slips peacefully through the sea. Control and bridle inquiry and your faith will be at peace!
The creatures, whose use you know, should convince you of that. For instance, you are unable to relinquish a drink, even if you collapse at the spring. Having drunk from springs you do not surely think you have taken them all in. You also fail before the sun and yet you are not deprived of its light. By the fact that it comes down to you (with its rays), you do not desire to reach its height. Although the air is quite extensive for you, a little bit of it provides you with life. Although it is your pledge, you ignore how great its mass is.
You receive from creatures their limited help and service and leave their vast unknown treasures in the chest. Do not disdain what is less nor long for that which is more. Let these creatures of the Creator instruct you about the Creator Himself: you should boldly ask His help and shy away from sophistry about Him. Accept the life of divine Majesty, but do not probe it! Love the Father’s goodness, but do not scrutinize His essence! Yearn after and love the Son’s blessedness, but do not inquire about his eternal birth! Long for the presence of the Holy Spirit, but do not try to fathom Him! The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are registered by their names. Ponder their names and do not mull over their content! If you want to scrutinize their essence, you are lost; if you believe in the name, you are safe. Let the Father’s name be a limit for you; do not surpass it trying to plumb His nature! Let the Son’s name be a wall for you; do not try to scale it to scrutinize His generation! Let the Holy Spirit’s name be for you a hedge; do not enter in order to understand! These names will be a limit for you and with them stop every investigation. You have heard the names and their reality. Turn to the commandments! You have perceived the laws and the commandments. Turn now to your way of living! You have accomplished it perfectly, then turn to the promises! Do not neglect the commandments to apply yourself to what is not prescribed! You have heard the truth in manifested realities, do not go astray in the case of hidden things! Truth is proclaimed in few words, do not search it with lengthy probes! Save your effort by being silent, O frail being!

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