“He who combines the practice of the virtues with spiritual knowledge is a man of power. For with the first he withers his desire and tames his incensiveness, and with the second he gives wings to his intellect and goes out of himself to God. …
“For him who is perfect in love and has reached the summit of dispassion there is no difference between his own or another’s, or between Christian and unbelievers, or between slave and free,or even between male and female. … He looks on all in the same way and shows the same disposition to all.” ~The Philokalia
Virtue Plus Divine Knowledge
The author of this section of The Philokalia (the book has numerous authors) is correct in saying that a person who practices virtue and has spiritual knowledge is a powerful man. Yet this statement needs clarification.
If a person has spiritual Knowledge (Gnosis), then he is automatically virtuous. No person who has such knowledge would be foolish enough to live otherwise. I think it would have been better to say that “the practice of virtues and the seeking of knowledge brings a man power.” I’m also a little leery of using the word “power” in this way. While such knowledge does give one power, saying so to materialistic people may give them the wrong impression.
This power is not power to control others or to rule over others. It is not the power to control matter and bring material wealth to oneself. It is the power to know truth from lies, servants of God from pretend servants of God. It is the power to resist the temptations of the world of matter. They can be resisted when you understand that their moments of pleasure prevents or delays eternal life in Heaven.
The one who has awakened and gained such Divine Knowledge to some degree is not prejudice. He sees all people as worthy of love and respect. It doesn’t matter if they are Christian, Buddhist, or even atheist.
An Awakened person doesn’t see black people as less than white, women as lesser being than men. A truly Knowledgeable person doesn’t even see plants and animals as lesser beings, but calls them brothers ans sisters as did St. Francis.
Many of us claim we follow those tenants, but in truth, few of us do. We need to ask ourselves if we react the same way when a man of another race commits a crime as we do when it is one of our own race. Do we react the same way when a person of our own faith commits an act of terrorism as we do when it is someone of a different faith? If not, then we have not yet achieved Gnosis. We may have greater Divine Knowledge than the average person, but we haven’t gained it all. Our souls may have achieved it, but it hasn’t sank own to the level of the mind.
Perfect in Love and Divine Knowledge
Perfection is something to seek, but it rarely, if ever, happens while we dwell on the level of matter. That is the bad news. The good news is that the search for it continues after we have physically died. But that is only true if we make the effort to awaken while we are on this plane of existence. We can’t wait until we have died to began to develop our spiritual self and gain Divine Knowledge. That is like waiting until the floods have arrived to start building a boat.
We should all awaken our spiritual faculties now, and develop them as much as possible while we are here. Be ready for the great adventure that follows.