Danielou on Gregory of Nyssa

This passage comes from Fr. Jean Danielou‘s introduction to a collection of texts from Gregory of Nyssa, entitled “From Glory to Glory.” It sums up succinctly a theme I have been exploring in Christian mysticism: the relationship of desire and love to beauty/the realm of the “aesthetic.” In Gregory, this is bound up with his notion of epektasis, a limitless stretching-out or journey into the divine.

“What is most important here is that Eros expresses the experience of the soul as the infinite beauty of God becomes more and more present to it. The more the soul is aware of this beauty, the more it sees that it is inaccessible. And then it realizes that it attains this beauty more by desire than by actual possession, just as it comprehends it rather by darkness than in the light.” (p. 45)


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