I’ve been reading today about the Philokalia. The Philokalia is a gathering of spiritual writings which lend insights to the Bible. It is not “commentary” but more than that. I view commentary as it pertains to Scripture to be more a play by play on the Word whereas the Philokalia is not that mechanical. It’s not about understanding with our heads but with our heart. It is not a dissection of the Word but rather spiritual writings which help to usher the Word more deeply into our hearts, minds and lives.
There are a number of my friends who would argue that the Word does not require this kind of illumination, that it’s written in such a way that it just becomes this on it’s own.
I suppose there is some merit in that and yet my bodily experience rails against this idea. I just don’t believe that I have the power on my own, with only my own understanding, to completely grasp all that is available to me in the Word. In fact, I believe it’s arrogant for me to even consider that to be true.
If this is so then there is no room for community, no need for tradition, no use for the historical perspective…there is no discernment nor wisdom except through me. If it’s up to me then I’m completely screwed, seriously.
I see the Philokalia then as a “look here….see this…be here now” kind of thing.
The metaphor that sticks to me in this comes from “The Way of a Pilgrim” and the quote is this:
“The Philokalia is the piece of glass which we use to enable us to contemplate the sun in it’s imperial splendor.”
If we can agree that the Word is the sun then I’d have to suggest that I don’t know anyone who can look into that great orb for any degree of time without being blinded. I believe we ALL have a lens through which we look into the Word whether we recognize that or not. A lot depends on the lens. This is the one I’m putting on during this season…on this journey.