St. Silouan the Athonite Mission Parish

Sermons

Towards a Theology of Silence 2015
by Fr Roberto Ubertino

 

When we move from the sacred veils of the lover of mankind, transcending terms, symbols, shapes and forms towards what is imageless and supernaturally simple. In the life to come free from earthly passions we shall receive a gift of light – struck by this light.

 

The world and its images and analogies are a word that speaks to us of God's love. Yet the world is not God and does not contain God. So in life we also enter a place where we leave behind our ideas of who God is and does, thus approach apophatically the ray that transcends being. In this place of silence – that transcends all words – exists' all knowledge – that is completely, totally beyond our capacity to know? In a manner beyond all, it contains in that silence the boundaries of every natural knowledge and energy.

 

Transcendent being and knowledge can only be approached in silence. In the same way, there is an approach to oneself and the other that is also apophatic - Anthropological Apophaticism.

 

We only know each other and even ourselves through our energies. The mystery one who I am reveals itself in communion with another. The icon is only in community. As icon – in my spiritual structure and life – reflect the inner Trinitarian life.

 

Human nature demands not solitude but communion – to know another and the world from the inside – silence because in communion we have a door open at the depths that lie within the other person and the meanings in this world. Such theoria is infinite because both the brother and the logismoi of creation are rooted in the infinity and boundless love of God, who is Trinity. Ecstasy – loving self-transcendence – unites with reason (nepsis). Anthropological apophaticism versus endless theories about things: the unceasing effort for reason to understand everything in its own terms and through a collective experience. Perhaps most poignantly felt in the relationship between man and woman. We approach the other from the other from the outside history, family, social and solely based on these we formulate our understanding of some sort of truce, some sort of coping mechanism, compromise. Often looking each into a deep solitude where the other only serves as a keeper of the cell keys. The inner person is to be respected and kept at a distance. Utility, necessity, and needs is where the life of the couple can be best hoped to survive or exist.

 

Marriage at best used a social institution, a divine order that affirms our human institutions and where each member is called to sacrifice their personhood for the good of the greater or at worse an arrangement between two solitudes who meet on some agreed terms for specific personal needs.

 

But can the most intimate relationship on this planet, the one that exists from the very life and mode of existence of the Trinity, really "function" without any reference to its very inner meaning? Can there be marriage that is not also mystical? Can there be a contemplation of marriage that avoids how we are created as image and likeness of God, can marriage be set apart from the vocation of humanity, can it have other goals, other "inner logic" than the very dynamics of God's created order? Can there be really a "separate" married theology?

 

Can you really ever completely understand another? Even if it is your spouse – even more so! Is the approach towards the other one of simple history, biology, psychology? Can I really know another apart from his/my relationship to God and creation? Or is the contemplation of being/life/existence as in relationship, communion of existence, moving towards this All in All that marriage and the other in marriage can be lived.

 

God is one monad and three (trinity). Why, how, the church privileges monad over trinity? How this has impoverished our understanding of our vocation, of God's desire in creating the world, subjecting one order over another contrary to the very natural order of creation.

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