by Andrea Elizabeth
On the occasion of His Grace Bishop Alexander Golitzen becoming our next Bishop of Dallas and the South, and who is a famous scholar of St. Dionysius, I read all seven pages of Saint Dionysius’ Mystagogy from CCEL.org.
The spiritual therapy books that I have recently posted about are more in line with the ascetic tradition of completely emptying yourself of desire for anything except God. This is extreme asceticism. And it is similar to what St. Dionysius describes as God being beyond being. It is like when you take away all the anthropomorphic attributes that we use to describe him and sink into the abyss. I would say that this is not for the beginner, nor the intermediate nor even the above average practitioner. It should be done incrementally by giving up one thing at a time and becoming comfortable, familiar, thankful, and almost satisfied with the gift God gives you in return. To quit all pleasure in created life cold turkey could leave one devastated if not delusional. First one should probably start chipping away at the wrong attributes that one has learned about God, such as Calvinistic TULIP, and read Saint Athanasius’ On The Incarnation, St. Dionysius’ The Divine Names, or other Orthodox books instead. Same goes for fasting. Your body has to make a big adjustment if you cut out all meat and dairy sources of protein, and similar adjustments when cutting down on amounts of food. I say give yourself a lot of time.