Discernment, Humility, illumination, Love, Love for God, Love of God, Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos, Noetic Faculty, Noetic Prayer, nous, Protopresbyter John S. Romanides, Purification, Sobriety, St. Gregory Palamas, St. Isaac the Syrian, St. Philaret of New York, St. Symeon the New Theologian, St. Theophan the Recluse, Theoria
Remembrance of God must lead to a feeling of warmth or burning love for God.
You are surprised that I spend so much time explaining the very same thing. “Of course,” you say, “I need many other things.”
Now I have finished. You have only to carry it out. The reason I spent so long explaining everything about remembrance of God is because all the power is in this. Once you are established in this remembrance—not just barren remembrance, but with reverence and similar feelings toward the Lord—it will compel you to be diligent in everything else, too. You will be diligent in such a way that you will have a certain wondrous beauty, for there is also a crude, awkward sort of diligence. This remembrance will be for you lord, master and executor of all affairs, especially those of your inner life. That which the Apostle Paul prayed for and wished for the Ephesians, and through them for all Christians, will then be fulfilled within you: That (God) grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith (3:16-17). This is what I have been talking about. Saint Paul considered this so important that, when praying about it, he prayed with a special fervor: For this, I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (3:14). How could I not talk about this with you? Once the remembrance of God has been established in the inner man, then Christ the Lord will dwell within you. The two things go together.
A certain warm feeling toward the Lord will serve as a sign to convince you that this most wonderful thing has begun to operate inside of you. If you carry out everything that has been prescribed, this feeling will soon begin to appear more and more often, until finally it is there continually. Beginning from its first appearance, this feeling sweetly and blissfully arouses the desire to seek after it, so that it will never leave the heart, for in it is Paradise.
Would you like to enter into this Paradise a little sooner? Then do this: When you pray, do not stop praying until you have aroused some sort of feeling toward God in your heart. This can be reverence, or devotion, or thanksgiving, or praise, or humility and contrition, or trust and hope. Do this also when you begin reading during your devotions; do not stop reading until you have felt the truth that you have read. If you pay attention to yourself, these two feelings (methods), by warming you up, are capable of keeping you under their influence all day. Work at carrying out these two methods precisely, and you will see for yourself what happens.
When something is out under the sun’s rays for a long time, it gets very warm; the same thing will happen for you. By keeping yourself under the rays of the remembrance of God and your feelings toward Him, you will be warmed more and more with an unearthly warmth, and then you will become completely fiery, and not just fiery, but ablaze. The following will be fulfilled for you: I am come to send fire on the earth of human hearts, and I could not wish for more other than that it inflame everyone as soon as possible (Luke 12:49).
Apply the following comparison to this: When a spark falls on a hot object, the object begins smoldering gradually; then it catches fire until finally it is engulfed by flame, and, being dark by its essence, it becomes bright and shining on account of the fire that engulfs it. That is how it will be for you. Growing warm gradually, you will begin to glow; the spiritual flame will break out, and, once it has penetrated to all parts of you, will engulf you and make you bright, although you are in and of yourself dark. Recall here how at the beginning we said something about the sheath of the soul, and then about the radiance of the grace-filled soul. That is how it will be with you and inside of you! Truly it will. Ahead of you, however, there is sweat and toil, and how long everything will take is known to God Alone, for everything is from Him. Just know that God is not offended and has not forgotten your labor of love.
—St. Theophan the Recluse (Homily 52)