Come back to Me

by Andrea Elizabeth

One point of business, in reading about beyond being in Ambiguum 7, I am reminded that I have recently mis-attributed a memory of the subject in a preface to St. Dionysius’ Divine Names to our new Bishop Alexander, who used to be a professor at Marquette University, and has written a book about St. Dionysius. The intro to Pseudo-Dionysius Areopagite, The Divine Names and Mystical Theology that I read and blogged about almost 10 years ago was actually by Dr. John Jones, who also is/was? a professor there. No wonder I couldn’t find it again. Here is a different paper on Divine Simplicity by him that I may read later, but looks a little too technical for my current frame of mind. Back to St. Maximus,

“…He is beyond being, and is not participated in by any being whatsoever – when, I say, we set this way of thinking aside, the one Logos is many logoi and the many are One. According to the creative and sustaining procession of the One to individual beings, which is befitting of divine goodness, the One is many. According to the revertive, inductive, and providential return of the many to the One – as if to an all-powerful point of origin, or to the center of a circle precontaining the beginnings of the radii originating from it – insofar as the One gathers everything together, the many are One. We are, then, and are called “portions of God” because of the logoi of our being that exist eternally in God. Moreover, we are said to have “flowed down from above” because we have failed to move in a manner consistent with the logos according to which we were created and which preexists in God.”

Before I read on, I have a thought. In my last post, or so, I said I resist the idea of being consumed by God’s will, in that this seems to entail loss of individuality. What if this is based on a misunderstanding of what God’s will is. If it is His one divine will, then perhaps my fear is justified. But if it is one of his many wills particularized by his many logoi, then perhaps his will is individualistic for me in particular. This seems a little Protestant, in a Jesus and me kind of way. St. Maximus also said earlier, “For in their substance and formation all created things are positively defined by their own logoi, and by the logoi that exist around them and which constitute their defining limits.” This isn’t quite so individualistic. There is also the possibility that he is talking about a more general “human” logoi. King David sounds more individualistic in Psalm 139 (138?140?), but one has to be mindful that he may be prophesying about Christ instead.

Still, if we are talking about God’s will that his logoi, the design for us, return to Him, or originally, mature in Him, then it is the natural state for us. We tend to see God’s will as foreign to us, that we give up who we are for Him. But this way we are giving up who we aren’t for him. How much of our habits and decisions are based on who we aren’t? Sins of commission are obviously not God’s will, but what about sins of omission? How much to pray? How much to serve? How much to rest? How much to eat? This takes a lot of time I guess to (re? Not in the sense of pre-existing actuality, but pre-existing potentiality or even identity) align oneself to. My brain just fried.