Centennial for the death of Maistre Philippe

Just as my ordination to the Diakonate coincided with the commemoration of the death of Maistre Philippe,Nizier Anthelme Phillipe, 2 August 1905, I thought I should share a quote from his ouevre which Phillip Garver contributed to the Eglise Gnostique list earlier:

“(Man) must descend and become nothing, and when he is nothing, he will be everything, and will obtain all Knowledge.”

This directs our attention towards the necessity of emptying which is central to all the disciplines of the Christian Gnosis, and which is sadly neglected in our day and age.

The Theosophers from Jacob Boehme and onwards, spoke much of the Heart, and much is made out of that which they said of the Heart, but almost everything that is made out of what they spoke about the Heart concentrates on a property of emotional attachments, while the Heart is envisioned, by our visionaries – as a fixed point around which all subject to change, Natura herself, revolves, as if in a dervish dance. Another name for the same is Signature, it is attached to a matrix, an original contextuality, which is none other than the Divine Consciousness, from which the Psyche emerges and draws its essence, and to which it hopes to return, and whose life, if we allow it, is a continual response to.

We are brought up to fear the nothing, whether envisioned as death or as loss – we are conditioned to avoid, to plan and create strategies, to avoid overmuch intimacy with that nothing, and therefore much theology, even much philosophy and metaphysics (albeit recent in type) revolves around increasing and expanding the metaphysical All.

Jesus, in the Secret Book of James, says ” “Verily I say unto you, no one will ever enter the kingdom of heaven at my bidding, but (only) because you yourselves are full.” Whereupon he calls forward James and Peter, insisting that he would “fill them“. He says to these two disciples, ” Do you not, then, desire to be filled? And your heart is drunken; do you not, then, desire to be sober? Therefore, be ashamed! Henceforth, waking or sleeping, remember that you have seen the Son of Man, and spoken with him in person, and listened to him in person…. ‘Become full, and leave no space within you empty, for he who is coming can mock you.”

To which Peter protests, “Three times you have told us, ‘Become full’; but we are full.

To which Jesus replies, sternly:”For this cause I have said to you, ‘Become full,’ that you may not be in want. They who are in want, however, will not be saved. For it is good to be full, and bad to be in want. Hence, just as it is good that you be in want and, conversely, bad that you be full, so he who is full is in want, and he who is in want does not become full as he who is in want becomes full, and he who has been filled, in turn attains due perfection. Therefore, you must be in want while it is possible to fill you, and be full while it is possible for you to be in want, so that you may be able to fill yourselves the more. Hence, Become full of the Spirit, but be in want of reason, for reason the soul; in turn, it is (of the nature of) soul.”

Those who thirsted imagined themselves to be sated, those who were most wounded, imagined themselves healthy. Arrogantly they refused the physicians cure, on account of reckoning him to be an inferior fellow, despite their deficiencies and unsatisifed needs.The relationship between Jesus and the scribes once he had arrived in Jerusalem is famous, it was not on good tone – since they would not only resist help, but deny others who wanted it to receive it. If they heard a truth coming from lips they did not revere themselves, they would rather lie and make it something unheard, than allow others to weigh it and judge it for themselves. Such was also the situation between Maitre Philippe and his contemporary world, so it was with the Gnostics before him, and such is the situation for us.

But ours is not a contest and argument against those who would prefer not to hear us, those who refuse to receive us and those who would even persecute us – but a continued ordeal against our own still imperfect relationship with these gifts and these virtues, and the Gnosis which embraces them and make them, in and through us, whole.

Praise be unto the Unknown Father, who has not been mocked, who has not been rejected and who has not been a stumblingblock to His people – Praise be unto the Eternally Mercyful, whose wrath transforms into a purifying fire which settles like any storm, and leave the seed planted in good earth to grow into full bloom, as a tree covering the whole world with its branches. Praise be the Mystery which cannot be fabricated. The Truth whose price is itself. Greater still than the Universe, only the ear would hear it and the eyes distinguish its features – for giving us such guiding lights and allowing this brilliance to shine to the generations after, as a signpost towards that place where only Thou Art. Amen