Symeon the New Theologian – Christ’s Body

We awaken in Christ’s bodySymeon the New Theologian
as Christ awakens our bodies,
and my poor hand is Christ, He enters
my foot, and is infinitely me.

I move my hand, and wonderfully
my hand becomes Christ, becomes all of Him
(for God is indivisibly
whole, seamless in His Godhood).

I move my foot, and at once
He appears like a flash of lightning.
Do my words seem blasphemous? — Then
open your heart to Him

and let yourself receive the one
who is opening to you so deeply.
For if we genuinely love Him,
we wake up inside Christ’s body

where all our body, all over,
every most hidden part of it,
is realized in joy as Him,
and He makes us, utterly, real,

and everything that is hurt, everything
that seemed to us dark, harsh, shameful,
maimed, ugly, irreparably
damaged, is in Him transformed

and recognized as whole, as lovely,
and radiant in His light
he awakens as the Beloved
in every last part of our body.

— Symeon the New Theologian, (949-1022), published in The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry, edited by Stephen Mitchell


  1. I ask ‘what is my correct job?’
    Another question, How can I help?’ is the answer that appears. Knowing how to help comes from being engaged with who and what is around me. What can I do to help? When one is not separate from others the answer to ‘how can I help?’ becomes quite clear. Then the Christ can act through and use our bodies because we are not separate from others: when we have broken the wall of self.


    1. I appreciate the distinction between your two questions. “What is my correct job?” is for me to answer whereas “How can I can help?” begins a conversation and relationship. Thank you for this insight.

      God’s peace be with you,


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