Further down and further out

by Andrea Elizabeth

Having finished the Celestial Hierarchies, let me just note what I suppose are the Platonic forms so represented.

Let us, if you are so disposed, now relax our mental vision from the effort of the contemplation of the sublimity of the Angels, and descend to the particularized, all-various expanse of the manifold diversity of forms in angelic images; and then return analytically from them, as from symbols, ascending again to the simplicity of the Celestial Intelligences. But first let me point out clearly to you that the explanations of the sacred likenesses represent the same Orders of Celestial Beings sometimes as leading, and again being led, and the last leading and the first being led, and the same ones, as has been said, having first, middle and last powers. But there is nothing unreasonable in the account, according to the following method of unfoldment.

The two things that give me pause are, 1) the idea of diminishment as one moves down the chain. And 2) The indirectness of God’s help in using such a chain.

What these two problems assume is that the grace imparted, diminished and indirect, is something apart and detached from God Himself. If I seek confirmation of this in Scripture, then I think of the passage explaining that God made man a little lower than the angels. And I don’t doubt that Moses’ face after the burning bush was less bright than Christ’s at the Transfiguration. And it is also explained somewhere that to each a measure of grace (actually, faith) is given. If we understand that this grace is a living part of God Himself, then it doesn’t seem so detached, even if it is given at the hands of someone else. One must learn to be content no matter where one is placed around the table. Just be glad you’re there, or at least under it searching for dispersed, increasingly particularized fallen crumbs, at all.