"Scripture’s Profoundest Doctrine"

…according to the holy Father of the Church, St. Gregory of Nyssa, from his Commentary on The Canticle of Canticles [i.e., the otherwise very sexy Old Testament book of Song of Songs or Song of Solomon], as quoted in Johanna Manley, The Bible and the Holy Fathers for Orthodox, pp. 598-599:

By the purity of your lives you have put on the snow white garments of the Lord which He showed us at His Transfiguration on the mount. All of you then, have been transformed into something divine and sinless – it is to you I speak of the mystery of the Canticle of Canticles …Now the man who no longer looks towards flesh and blood, gazes rather on the life of the spirit, and by killing the deeds of the flesh by means of the spirit, he becomes neither natural nor carnal, but wholly spiritual. This is the reason why the Bridegroom praises the soul {i.e., the Bride} that has been freed of all carnal passions by saying the image of the Dove is in its eyes {throughout Song of Songs}; for this means that the impression of the spiritual life shines within the clarity of the soul and…it turns to contemplate the Bridegroom’s beauty. For no man can say the Lord Jesus, but by the Holy Spirit …In order to have us understand its prodoundest doctrine, the Scriptures use as a symbol that which is the most violent of all our pleasurable inclinations, I mean the passion of love {i.e., sexual}. Thus we are meant to understand that the soul that contemplates the inaccessible beauty of the divine nature falls in love with it in much the same way as the body is attracted towards things that are connatural with *it* {emphasis mine}. But here the entire disturbance of the soul has been transformed into impassibility {i.e., passionlessness, not being ruled over by the passions unto sin}, all carnal passion is extinguished in us and the soul burns with love by the sole flame of the Spirit.


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