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The Luminous Eye.

Updated: Jan 1, 2023

The inner eye of the mind, or of the soul, functions by means of faith, in much the same way that the exterior, physical, eyes function by means of light. The presence of sin, darkens this inner eye by keeping out the light of faith, and so, in order that this inner eye may see properly, it needs to be kept lucid and clear.

Blessed Elder - Saint Ephrem the Syrian

In a delightful short poem, Hymn Thirty-Seven of the cycle on the Church, Ephrem compares Eve and Mary - the Theotokos - to the two inner eyes of the world: one is darkened and cannot see clearly, while the other is luminous and operates perfectly.

Illumine with Your teaching the voice of the speaker, and the ear of the hearer: like the pupil of the eye let the ears be illumined, for the voice provides the rays of light

Refrain: Praise to You, O Light.

It is through the eye that the body, with its members is light in its different parts, is fair in all its conduct, is adorned in all its senses, is glorious in its various limbs.

Praise to You, O Light.

It is clear that Mary is the 'land' that receives the Source of light; through her it has illumined the whole world, with its inhabitants, which had grown dark through Eve, the source of all evils.

Praise to You, O Light.

Mary and Eve in their symbols resemble a body, one of whose eyes is blind and darkened, while the other is clear and bright, providing light for the whole.

Praise to You, O Light.

The world, you see, has two eyes fixed in it: Eve was its left eye, blind, while the right eye, bright, is Mary.

Praise to You, O Light.

Through the eye that was darkened the whole world has darkened, and people groped and thought that every stone they stumbled upon was a god, calling falsehood truth.

Praise to You, O Light.

But when it was illumined by the other eye, and the heavenly Light that resided in its midst, humanity became reconciled once again, realizing that what they had stumbled on was destroying their very life.

Praise to You, O Light.

In passing we should observe that in this poem on the world's two eyes it is Mary's vision which is held up as a model. She again is the model when Ephrem turns to auditory imagery: her listening and obedience, born out of faith, is contrasted both with Eve's disobedience and Zechariah's lack of faith when the angel foretold the birth of his son, John the Baptist. The significance of the role of Mary - the Theotokos, Mother of God, in Ephrem's theological vision is perpetually present for all to see, and emulate.

Glory to Thee our God.

+ Glory to Thee for All Things! +

Holy Father - Saint Ephrem the Syrian

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1 Comment

Jan 01, 2023

Glory forever!

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