Dionysius listens to the heavenly, invisible reality

According to Dionysius the hymns, songs and poems used in Church are a “resounding” or echo of the heavenly chanting, which the hymongrapher hears with a spiritual ear and transmits in his work.  The church’s hymn is a copy of the heavenly archetype.  We recognize here that familiar principle of consecration to a higher order, a hierarchical ascent to an invisible reality

(Schmemann, *Introduction to Liturgical Theology*, 168).

Matthew Raphael Johnson once suggested that the real division in ontology is not between nature and grace*, but between visible and invisible realities.  And this division is not one of opposition, either.  By podvig and ascesis one can see through (or pierce, rather) the veil.

This makes for very interesting and promising ontology (though heaven forbid we speak of this only out of curiosity).  C.S. Lewis, tentatively following (and at times reworking) Aquinas’ angelology, speaks of the exact same thing in his Space Trilogy.  One can’t actually see the eldils, but one knows they’re there.

Again, this also ties into the Celtic view of “thin space” (cf the recent quote by Milbank).  And for what it’s worth, N.T. Wright says the same thing.

Lord willing, my copy of Dionysius the Areopagite will come in the mail soon.


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