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Spiritual Awakening Radio Podcasts - Sebastian Brock — on the Syriac Mystics, Part 2
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Visions of Primordial Light: “The Light of Christ is noetic Light, and blessed is the soul which is accounted worthy to see it.” (Saint Isaac the Syrian)

Meet the “great grandchildren” of Saint Thomas, Apostle of the East. No doubt this is one of the few programs on radio that has ever explored this little-known tradition of antiquity. Hear Aramaic chant along with readings from the Syriac Mystics of Eastern Christianity (Persian Gulf/Iraq/Syria, India) and another installment of my conversation with Syriac scholar Sebastian Brock of Oxford. We discuss another “Nag Hammadi-like”, “Philokalia-like”, “Dead Sea Scrolls-like” collection — an anthology of the sacred texts and wisdom of an ancient spiritual community of the Middle East/Near East with its own rich contemplative heritage of Gnosis and mysticism. We talk about Saint Isaac the Syrian, the Thomas tradition and writings, including the Gospel of Thomas, Acts of Thomas, and Manichaean Psalms of Thomas, the Jesus Sutras found in China, and various translations of Syriac mystical texts that have appeared in English.

“The rays of primordial Light that illumine purified souls with spiritual knowledge not only fill them with benediction and luminosity; they also, by means of the contemplation of the inner essences of created things, lead them up to the noetic heavens. The effects of the divine energy, however, do not stop here; they continue until through wisdom and through knowledge of indescribable things they unite purified souls with the One, bringing them out of a state of multiplicity into a state of oneness in Him.” (Philokalia)

“The one who possesses noetic Light has no need of visible light. Now the Light of the mind, they say, is the knowledge of the truth, whereby the soul can distinguish the truth from similitudes. The one who has found this, has found a Treasury of Life.” (Book of Grace, Saint Isaac the Syrian)

Create eyes in me, and so may I see with Your eyes,
for I cannot see with my own eyes.

May my mind travel inwards
towards the hiddenness of Your sacrifice,
just as You have travelled out into the open
and been cojoined to Your Mysteries.

At this moment
may I be totally forgetful of myself,
and remain utterly unmindful
of my own person.

May every bodily image
be wiped away from my mind’s Eye,
and may You alone
be depicted before the Eye of my mind.

And now, when Your Spirit descends from heaven
upon your Mysteries,
may I ascend in spirit from earth to heaven.

— Prayers of Joseph the Visionary, “The Syriac Fathers On Prayer And The Spiritual Life,” translated from the original Syriac-Aramaic by Sebastian Brock, Cistercian Publications

All for the love of wisdom and radio,

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