The Desert Fathers and Mothers are often celebrated as repositories of Christian spiritual wisdom. Yet few look to the roots of that wisdom—to the theology that informed their monastic life. Few realize they were in fact Miaphysites.
Why were the desert monks and hermits passionately Miaphysite? Because Miaphysite (The Jesus Paradox) makes more sense of Christian mystical experience than any other theology. The synthetic minds of the Desert Fathers and Mothers experienced the underlying unity of the cosmos—the unity of all matter with roots in the Big Bang. At the same time they acknowledged the source’s human form: Jesus. Miaphysite is the only theology high enough and broad enough to transcend and include both dual (human) and non-dual (Divine) awareness, without dissecting, without interjecting the scalpel of reason where it doesn’t belong.
Silent prayer eventually takes us beyond the realm of names and forms to rest in God’s ineffable peace. There unqualified experience of the living God lavishes ultimate meaning and inexpressible joy. Miaphysite affirms that God’s first language is this mysterious and quickening undifferentiated silence. Miaphysite also affirms the human form in which the unlimited became limited, the absolute became relative, and the high-voltage electricity became grounded.
The monks experience ultimate reality beyond words, then move back again into the particular forms of Christian tradition that Jesus set into motion. They didn’t come out of deep silences with nothing to say. They found language for their experience—the language of Miaphysite. The Miaphysites staked their lives on the tight rope of the incarnation. They balanced the contemplative life with life in the world. They balanced silent prayer with theological utterances. They balanced Jesus’ Divinity and humanity.
If we can still our minds long enough, we can glimpse the holistic nature of Jesus beyond the persistent dualisms. The mystics claim when we acclimatize to habitual stillness and quiet, Jesus’ Divinity and humanity can’t be talked about separately. Likewise, the life of prayer (communion with God) and the life of service (solidarity with humanity) are complementary. They’re in fact a dynamic unity—an organic whole.