“Without some share in what is Good, nothing has ever existed, nothing does exist and nothing could exist. Take lust, for example. It is devoid of Good because of its senseless covetousness…. but that does not prevent it taking its share in what is Good by means of the feeble echo that remains in it of fellowship and tenderness. Likewise anger has a share in what is Good because of its innate impulse, the desire to improve what seems evil and bring it back to what appears a better state. Even the person who desires the worst of lives, in so far as the desire is to live, and to live what seems a better life, by the very desiring, by the desire to live and by the aiming at [what seems like] a higher life, that person has a share in what is Good. If what is Good were entirely suppressed, there would no longer be any life, nor desire, nor purpose, nor anything else.” Dionysius the Areopagite, Divine Names, IV, 20.
This is an interesting, and perhaps reassuring, text to consider especially in what seems like a ‘Godless’ world we currently live in. This seems to echo closely St. Paul’s exhortation to the Greeks,
“That they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent.” Acts 17:27-30.
God is not afar from us and insofar as we pursue beauty, life, love and all that is good (here I refer to the truly Good cf. The Vanity of Idols Continued – Epistle to Diongetus Part 2), we pursue Him Who is The Good above all things. Even when we are mistaken in our perception of the Good, we, being made in the Image of God, still have an innate impulse to pursue that which we perceive as good. Sadly, we are all too mistaken and this is where the demonic warfare is strongest against us humans. We are seduced into pursuing that which we are deceived to think is good. Even here, while falling into sin, we still bear the semblance of God in whose image we are made. It is our ascesis, our spiritual warfare, that we might ever turn ourselves to pursue Him Who is All Good, All Beauty, All Truth.
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