Chapter 1: Joy in Mysticism
THE soul which, after much striving and seeking, has touched the abundant fullness is flooded with joy; so the mystics tell us. "Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy!" ("Joie, joie, joie, pleurs de joie! ") cries Pascal at the moment of his decisive mystic experience. The soul feels itself possessed of immeasurable riches, it trembles with silent sighing or is swept away by "inward" jubilant "singing (88). For all that it deemed of worth hitherto is as nothing beside what it now experiences and knows (89), what now permeates it and dominates it with incomparable majesty, with overwhelming might and beauty. "Ο beauty that exceedest all beauty "—"Ο hermosura, que excedeis a todas las hermosuras’’ (90)! Ο pulchritudo tam antiqua et tam nova” (91)! The soul has touched the "wells of living water," has drunk eagerly of them (92), and received a new, eternal life.
Mystical Life and the Orthodox Faith
Mysticism cannot be defined, but in broad terms it is the religious experience of the individual who seeks a life of harmony, peace, and continuous communion with the Supreme Being. Introspection, contemplation, and solitude are prerequisites for the development of an inner religious experience. Constant prayer assures divine intervention, which illuminates the human soul. Divine grace and man's continuous quest assure revelation, or acquisition of divine presence. Mysticism is primarily a personal religious experience within the broad framework of the Church and tends to stress the individualistic approach of religion.
Distinction and Relationship in the Divine Hypostases
In Antioch and in its spiritual sphere of influence, all the familiar solutions had been tried and even proposed synodically to bridge the chasm separating the teaching of the First Ecumenical Council from the Arian heresy. These solutions were, of course, being offered to Arius, but were more or less diminishing the doctrine of Nicaea. Chrysostom who certainly knew these solutions, accepted the Homoousion of Nicaea, but was also familiar with the theology of the Cappadocians, at least in general. He particularly knew the distinction of the three divine Hypostases and the one nature in God. In fact, he was the first non-Cappadocian theologian to discern the absolute significance of this distinction, analyzing and applying it broadly. This is obvious from the manner by which he understood the teaching about the Holy Spirit after St. Athanasios, contributing himself to its broadening by presupposing the theology of the three distinct divine Hypostases.