An Irish Welcome

Céad Míle Fáilte friend and rover ...
Wherever you come from and whosoever you may be.
That's an Irish greeting and it means

you are welcome
a thousand times over.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A flight of alone to the alone ...

Then Peter said in reply, ‘Lo, we have left everything and followed You. What then shall we have?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, I say to you... Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for My name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life’

St Symeon the New Theologian in one of his Hymns speaks of monastic life as being with Christ rather than living alone:

But indeed he who possesses Christ dwelling in him,
How can he be said to be alone, tell me?
For the Father and the Spirit are united with my Christ.
How therefore can we speak of being a solitary
When the monk is united with the Three-in-one?
He is the one who is united with God even if he lives alone,
Even if he lives in a desert, even in a cave...
He who makes a heaven of his cell through virtue,
Contemplates and looks upon the Creator of heaven and earth,
Installed in his cell.

And he adores Him and is united always with the Light which never sets,
The Light without the darkness of evening, the unapproachable Light,
Which never leaves him, never completely wanders from him,
Day or night, whether he eats or drinks,
Not even in his sleep or on the road or in moving from place to place...
So those who by repentance are united with God,
Purify their souls in this world here
And they are considered as solitaries as they are separated from the others...
They communicate with the Father omnipotent...
Their cell is heaven, they indeed are a sun
And the light is on them, the unsetting and divine light...
Only such are monks and solitaries,
Those who alone live with God alone...

- Hymn 27,18-74 (SC 174,280). Cf. the words of Plotinus quoted in Chapter I above: ‘a flight of alone to the Alone’ (Enn.6,9,11).


  1. I suppose being not so united in my earlier years, knowing loneliness so keen introduced me to the true horror of hell.

    We go to heaven together and to hell alone, no?