Three Steps

The Fathers of the Eastern Church say there are three steps to the healing of the soul, labeled Purification, Illumination, and Glorification.

In Purification, we work to purge ourselves of sin and free ourselves from being dominated by our passions, and to pray. This used to be the work of just the catechumens, beginning converts to Christianity.

Illumination is when God gives you the constant memory of Him in your heart while your mind continues about its daily affairs. This is the prayer of the Holy Spirit in the heart, self-acting even without your willing it. It is a form of communion with God which may come and go, and in which Purification may continue. Baptism is still sometimes called Illumination in the Eastern Church. This is the point of the exercise of the Jesus Prayer, the repetition of, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner,” or of some other short prayer, at first willed, then later taken up by the Holy Spirit within you. We hope to receive this gift of God no later than the moment of our death, said to constitute in the words of St. Paul, seeing God “dimly as in a mirror” (1 Corinthians 13:12). If we do, we will experience Glorification after death (see below).

Glorification (also referred to as deification, divinization, theosis, becoming God by grace, acquiring the Holy Spirit, etc.) is the vision of God’s Uncreated Divine Energies as Light, the Glory of God, the Light of Transfiguration of Mt. Tabor. Your own transfiguration. This is temporary during life, after which Purification and Illumination may continue. If we experience this, it continues (after death) for eternity as we go “from glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18). We’ll all see God’s Glory after death; for the Saints as Light, for the rest as eternally painful purifying fire…or as one priest said, “If you don’t like being with God in this life, you’ll be miserable in eternity!”

I should say that all of this is hearsay evidence for me, but my sources are good!


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