”The Virtues exist for the sake of the knowledge of creatures; knowledge for the sake of the knower; the knower, for the sake of Him who is known through unknowing and who knows beyond all knowledge.”
St.Maximos The Confessor
note how Maximos says that God is only known through unknowing. Sounds like a riddle doesn’t it?
Huh…You mean begin to know something by unknowing what you already know.
I think a better term would be to use the word unlearn. You must unlearn all that you’ve been taught when you were young in order to advance into knowing the unknown.
Most people go to Church every week, have studied theology and went to all the best colleges but….they still don’t know God. They know OF God and ABOUT God but they don’t know God.
Like the blind man in the Gospel whose never known sight he had to lose his blindness ( the only thing he’d ever known) in order to be able to see again.
In fact, this healing of the blind man was done on purpose by God to symbolize those who lose their blindness in this world in order that they may gain sight of God.
And just like the blind man we all go into a state of ecstasy running around telling everyone we’ve seen God and we become overjoyed.
So what exactly is our illness? There’s so many but here’s something simple. When you were young you were taught that when you were praised for doing something like the dishes or house chores, that you were meant to feel good. And you were taught that if you were not praised and rebuked that you are meant to feel bad.
In other words you were taught self esteem, pride and vain glory. You are taught all the wrong things about love and happiness. In other words your brainwashed by the culture around you that has taught you how to act and behave your whole life.
When the truth comes along it has an air of novelty to it because lies is all you’ve ever been used to or known.
I’ll give you an example. When I first ever touched on becoming a Christian, I read True Life In God by Vassula Ryden which are messages from Jesus himself.
When he called her a speck of dust and she would often refer to herself in this way when conversing with him, my initial thought was ”Huh? that’s not a nice thing to call somebody and why would she speak about herself in such a way to someone, that she is a speck of dust or nothing but dust and ashes?”
You see? I had been taught that to talk about oneself in such a way was unheard of. You’d never even talk to someone like that especially if you’re supposed to be a loving person. You’d praise them flatter them. But I quickly learned that praise doesn’t come from Jesus.
That is the world I came from so this truth, it shook me up a little, disturbed me and rattled the cage that secularism had kept me locked inside since birth.
So how do we unlearn all the rubbish we were taught? Through the Jesus prayer or the Holy Rosary if you like. Through the sacraments and developing a relationship with God and listening to the guidance of the Holy Elders of the Church and the Church fathers before them.
Water is so soft in comparison to the rocks but watch how over many years the water moulds and shapes the rocks. Prayer is pretty much the same, it moulds and shapes you over time. It cleanses you over time that’s its purpose. But in order for us to unlearn we have to allow the Holy Spirit to do His work.