He would not have shown himself to his servant if the sight were such as to bring the desire of the beholder to an end, since the true sight of God consists in this, that the one who looks up to God never ceases in that desire. For he says: You cannot see my face, for man cannot see me and live.

Scripture does not indicate that this causes the death of those who look, for how would the face of life ever be the cause of death to those who approach it? On the contrary, the Divine is by its nature life-giving. Yet the characteristic of divine nature is to transcend all characteristics. Therefore, he who thinks God is something to be known does not have life, because he has turned from true Being to what he considers by sense perception to have being.

Gregory of Nyssa. The Life of Moses. Translation, Introduction and notes by Abraham J. Malherbe and Everett Ferguson. (NY: Paulist, 1978). 115.

Today is the feast of Saint Gregory of Nyssa. I would like to have written something more substantial on him, but am afraid that it will have to wait – perhaps until next year, seeing that I am now getting enamoured with his brother as well!

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