Let us not pay heed to these people, let up stop up our hearingagainst them, and let us believe the Divine Scripture, and followingwhat is said in it, let us strive to preserve in our souls sounddogmas, and at the same time to lead also a right life, so that ourlife would both testify of the dogmas, and the dogmas would givefirmness to our life… If we live well but will be negligent overright dogmas, we can acquire nothing for our salvation. If we wish tobe delivered from Gehenna and receive the Kingdom, we must be adornedboth with the one and with the other – both with rightness of dogmas,and strictness of life.” (St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Genesis 13:4)
Ability to behold the Mysteries of God is not given to all. We have before us the holy and glorious Saints, who bear witness to the things of God and have thus become vessels of the holy Spirit to such an extent that their bodies. though they have reposed. are incorrupt, fragrant, and even warm to the touch. They have led God-pleasing lives by their acts in life and have been granted the grace to work wonders, even after their repose. This sanctity is founded on correct belief and correctness in their manner of life. Some were teachers, illumining the world with their exhortations; and some were martyrs, who died for their confession of faith.
Striving to live righteously sets us on the correct path. It breaks our pride and humbles us. The sophist, one seeking worldly knowledge, is puffed up by their pride. They fool themselves into believing they are the source of understanding – that they did it on their own. This pride is dangerous in that it forces us away from godliness and opens the door to many temptations and false belief.
1. In the First Degree (the sciences and the knowledge of the world), Rationalism works fine as this is the realm of observation and hypothesis.
2. In the Second Degree (the life of piety and love for God), Rationalism CAN assist our understanding, so long as it has set aside bias and worldly cares.
3. In the Third Degree (divine revelation, God’s grace), Rationalism clouds us and actually hinders us like a great weight preventing us to fly freely.
To quote our holy and God-bearing Father, Saint John Chrysostom, “If we wish to be delivered from Gehenna and receive the Kingdom, we must be adorned both with the one and with the other – both with rightness of dogmas, and strictness of life.”