The meaning of illumination

The illumination of one’s soul, better known as the illumination of conscience, is in both essence and fact the healing of the soul that is ill, for it entails reopening the heart of the soul, the nous, to God the Father and His Truth, Jesus Christ; hence, to Knowledge – true (interior, experiential) knowledge – of God, after it has been closed and repeatedly confirmed in its closedness through systemic, personal sin. We are presently incapable of healing and reopening the heart of our souls, even though we may regularly attend Confession, with sincere contrition in our hearts, for “only the Holy Spirit can purify the nous” (Diadokos of Photiki). That is why, more often than not, we keep on repeatedly relapsing into sin despite all our good intentions, because even though our soul is wiped clean after Confession, through the divine grace of the sacrament, the nous still remains closed.

Therefore, illumination – or rather, the re-illumination – of the nous, through the illumination of conscience, is needed for our souls, so that we can start (1) regaining true knowledge of God, especially our Father, while still being down here on earth; (2) living in union with Him, once we accept the grace of illumination – we are, indeed, free to reject it; and (3) start actively participating in His Divine Family life by actually living in Him, not just with Him. Illumination – if we accept it, since it is a form of divine grace – will cause us to significantly decrease, if not outrightly eliminate our willingness to sin, in terms of deliberate sin, because, for many of us, you cannot know God – truly know or start truly knowing God – and want to sin at the same time.