Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Time to Keep Silence

When reason confronts that which transcends reason, it is time to be silent and marvel at his unutterable power which cannot be explained since it is hidden in one's consciousness.  It knows that the great prophets speak of God's works, not of God himself.  "Who can tell of the Lord's power?" [Ps 106:2]; "I will tell of all your works," [Ps 9:1] and "Generation after generation will praise your deeds" [Ps 145:4].  These words explain what our human voice can utter, but silence becomes the norm with regard to him who utterly transcends any conception.  We therefore say that "the glorious majesty of his holiness" [Ps 145:5] has no end.  Oh, how marvelous!  What reverence the text shows when contemplating the divine nature when it cannot comprehend such a transcendent wonder!  The text did not say that the divine essence is boundless and claimed to be so audacious as to comprehend it; rather, it marvels at God's glorious majesty.  Once again the text is unable to see the glory of God's essence but is struck dumb before the glory of his holiness.  Therefore God's nature is far removed from our curious inquiries, and even the loftiest of manifestations cannot admire it.  The text does not admire his sanctity nor the glory of his holiness but stresses only the glorious majesty of his holiness.  We cannot grasp the object of admiration, and so the psalm says that "the glorious majesty of his holiness" has no end.

Gregory of Nyssa, Seventh Homily on Ecclesiastes

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