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Heart (Illumination)

“What is the heart? In biblical and patristic usage, the term “heart” does not correspond to the emotions. Rather, it is synonymous with the “spirit” of a person, and closely related to what the Fathers call the nous. These three terms – heart, spirit, and nous – may be defined as the essence of the soul, the place within each person where God reveals Himself (Mt 5:8). Most certainly, the heart is where God chooses to illumine the faithful (2 Cor 4:6)…The role of the heart and nous with respect to wisdom is clarified in the account of Christ’s appearance to two disciples on the road to Emmaus: “They said to one another, ‘Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?’” (Lk 24:32). He then appears to the eleven and opens “their understanding [nous], that they might comprehend the Scriptures” (vs. 24:45). Christ, the Wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:24) illumines us to comprehend the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven (Mt 13:11).” (Dynamis 3/5/2020)

"...before the Fall, Adam in his natural state had a heart illumined by the All-holy Spirit. Adam’s partaking of the Tree disrupted the natural balance of perception, and his reasoning capacity became the primary faculty of perception. This caused a usurping of the primary faculty of the heart, resulting in confusion and a darkening of perception…Our mind struggles with what our flesh sees and what our Spirit-filled heart knows. The Holy Spirit illumines our hearts so that we may behold the holiness that exists…God is not bound by our five senses. The Lord has fashioned us in such a manner that He may speak to our hearts. Thus we pray that God will “illumine our hearts, O Master. Open the eyes of our mind.” (Archimandrite Sergius, Dynamis 12/30/2018, 4/11/2018)

“The children of Israel saw with their physical eyes the Lord's signs and great wonders He did for them in Egypt. However, they could not see them with the eyes and ears of their heart. Why then did He not give them such eyes and ears? Because they were unwilling to receive illumination.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Deuteronomy 29:1-3)

“Spiritual things are perceived with a different sense that is separate from our bodily senses: the eye of the heart.” (Elder Sergei of Vanves)

“The Lord will not abandon us if we always approach Him from the heart. He wants our hearts and our souls to burn with an even greater desire and longing for Him, that we may never fall away from Him and His love.” (Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica)


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