HE AND I ARE ONE
We are the members of Christ, and Christ is our member. And my hand, the hand of one who is poorest of the poor, is Christ, and my foot is Christ. And I, the poorest of the poor, am the hand of Christ and the foot of Christ. I move my hand, and Christ moves, Who is my hand. For you must know that divinity is undivided. I move my foot and my foot shines as He shines. Do not say that this is blasphemy, but confirm this, and adore Christ who has made you in this way. For you also, if such is your desire, will become one of His members. And so all the members of each one of us will become the members of Christ, and Christ our member, and He will make all that is ugly and ill-shapen, beautiful and well-shapen, in that He adorns it with the splendor and majesty of His Godhood. And we shall all become gods and intimately united with God, and our bodies will seem to us immaculate, and since we have partaken of the semblance of the whole body of Christ, each one of us shall possess all of Christ. For the One who has become many, remains the One undivided, but each part is all of Christ.
Although the many cannot grasp you, verily, in some way you become small within my hands, and you lean down to my lips giving forth light like a shining udder and a sweetness of what is secret. And now give yourself to me that I may allay my hunger with you, that I kiss and clasp your unutterable glory, the light of your countenance, that I be filled, and may communicate to all others, and, when I have departed from this life, I may enter into you in glory. May I become light of your light, and stand beside you and be free from care and affliction; liberate me also from the fear that I may not return to you. Give me this also, Lord, grant me this also, since you have given me, who am unworthy, all else. For this is the most needful, and in this is all. For though I behold you now, though now you take pity upon me, though now you illumine me and give me mystic teachings, and watch over me and protect me with your mighty hand, and succor me and drive the demons into flight and destroy them, and make all subject to me and proffer me all and fill me with all that is good – O God, I shall have no gain from all of this if you do not permit me to cross the threshold of death unashamed; if the prince of darkness, approaching me, does not behold your glory shed around me and is annihilated, he, the dark one, consumed by your unconquerable light, and with him all the hostile powers behold the symbols in the seal and are driven to flight, but I, trusting in your mercy and unafraid, cross the threshold and approach you and fall on my knees before you. What fruit shall I have of what befalls me now? Verily, none, but it will fan the fire that is within me still more.
Again I saw Him in my house. Among all those everyday things He appeared unexpectedly and became unutterably united and merged with me, and leaped over to me without anything in between, as fire to iron, as the light to glass. And He made me like fire and like light. And I became that which I saw before and beheld from afar. I do not know how to relate this miracle to you. And I could not understand and even now I do not entirely understand how He entered into me and how He was united with me. But now, that I am united with Him, how can I tell you who He is, who has united with me and with whom I, in turn, am united? I fear that if I related it to you, you would not believe it and, falling from ignorance into blasphemy, my brother, you might lose your soul. He, with whom I am united, and I have become one. But how shall I call myself who was united with Him? God, who is twofold in nature and one in essence, made me also twofold, and endowed me with a twofold name. This is the distinction: I am man by nature, and God by the grace of God.
Again the light shines upon me. Again it flings wide the heavens, again it drives away the night. Again it reveals all things. Again I behold it alone. Again it leads me away from all that is visible, from all that is accessible to the senses, and tears me away from them. And he, who is above heaven, whom none has ever beheld, He again enters my spirit without leaving the heavens, without dividing the night, without bruising the air, without shattering the roof of the house, without breaking through anything, and light pours into the middle of my heart, although it remains as it was, O holy secret, and the light lifts me above everything. And I, who was in the midst of all things, am outside of them, and I do not even know if I am outside of my body. And now, verily, I am in that place where there is only light, and where the light is simple, and in beholding it, I emerge in simplicity and innocence.
Symeon the Younger, translated by Dom Ansgar Nelson, O.S.B., for
The Soul Afire, edited by H.A. Reinhold, pp. 302 – 304 (1944)
Bolded text quoted in The Hero with a Thousand Faces, p. 39