A Prayer for Aretē

O bright and holy Gods
Who are the source and fountain of all that is good,
Who fill the cosmos with your blessings,
I come to you in my need.

O providential Gods, mighty saviors,
Who know all things throughout the whole world,
Who care for all mortal creatures,
I entrust my cares to you.

Brilliant Apollon of the golden lyre,
Whose gifts bring balance, poise, harmony,
Set each part of my soul, my life, in due order.
In all things, grant perfect, proper measure.

Lord Dionysos, ever-future king,
Captivated by the mirror, torn apart yet reborn entire,
Direct my gaze toward what is good.
Bring me to unity: in my soul, in my life, in my devotion.

Mighty Zeus, father and creator,
Source of all life, ruler of all things,
Uphold and sustain me, in justice, truth, and piety.
Bring me through life’s storms, to your blessed harbor.

All you holy Gods whom I adore,
Who fill every cosmos – large and small – with your gifts,
Perfect my soul. Bring me to aretē.
I come to you in trust, and in supplication.

“Truly, I am amazed…”

Just a beautful thought for the day. In his commentary on the Alcibiades, Proclus compares Socrates’ attentive care for Alcibiades with the attentive care of the Demiurge for the cosmos:

If what “was in discordant and disorderly movement” [Timaeus 30a] could say something to the Demiurge, it would have uttered these words: “In truth, I wonder at your beneficent will and power, that have reached as far as my level, are everywhere present to me, and from all sides arrange me in an orderly fashion.”

In Alc. 125,15–126,1; trans. O’Neill.

Reading Proclus on Prayer

In the opening pages of book 2 of his commentary on the Timaeus, Proclus offers a discussion of prayer, that I’ve found helpful for refining my understanding.

As we might expect from Proclus, the discussion revolves around the doctrines of procession and reversion. The key principle is that everything that has being proceeds directly (i.e., in an unmediated way) from the Gods, and everything attains its proper excellence or completion when it reverts back upon its causes, which are the Gods. In prayer, we help to accomplish this reversion, both for ourselves and for the lower things in the cosmos, elevating ourselves (as the ones praying) and those things for which we pray.

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Proclus: Providence & Participation

After two years of reading Neoplatonic commentaries, and some of the more helpful scholarly literature, I decided last month that it was finally time to tackle Proclus’ Elements of Theology. I figure that if I study and meditate on one proposition every morning, I can work my way through the entire text by about the Summer Solstice. This is the first of an occasional series of posts, reflecting on that intellectual journey.

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