The discernment of spirits, to which the apostle John the Theologian calls us, is above all a differentiation of words, for not only did the word, with the world and all creation, fall, but the fall of the world began precisely with the perversion of the word. Through the word entered that lie whose father is the devil. The poison of this lie consists in the fact that the word itself remained the same, so that when man speaks of “God,” “unity,” “faith,” “piety,” “love,” he is convinced that he knows of what he is speaking, whereas the fall of the word lies precisely in that it inwardly became “other,” became a lie about its own proper meaning and content. The whole falsehood and the whole power of this falsehood lie in the fact that he made the same words into words about something else, he usurped them and converted them into an instrument of evil and that, consequently, he and his servants in “this world” always speak in a language literally stolen from God.
Alexander Schmemann, The Eucharist Sacrament of the Kingdom: Sacrament of the Kingdom. (Crestwood, N.Y.: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1988) 148.
I will hopefully get to summarising this chapter soon, although I really don’t know how I’ll manage to doing that reasonably concisely, for it is just so dense, deep, penetrating, challenging and, well, really just amazing. There are no doubt people who will write me off as heretical for being a Schmemann fan, and there are other people who I wish would read him and probably never will. And I realise that had I read this book five years ago, it would have made things if not easier, then at least have a lot clearer.