§ 11 The Nature of the Highest Angels

54. But in what way, or at long last doing what?

55. Let us see what they do, what life they lead.

56. If we live that life (indeed we can), we will be equal to their lot.

57. The Seraph burns with the fire of love; the Cherub shines with the splendor of intelligence; the Throne stands with the steadfastness of judgment.

58. Therefore if we, dedicated to an active life, undertake the care of inferior things with proper consideration of their worth, we will be strengthened by the steadfast solidity of the Thrones.

59. If we, unconcerned by actions, meditate on the Creator in His creation and creation in the Creator, we will be engaging in the leisure of contemplation; we will shine on all sides with Cherubic light.

60. If we burn for the Creator alone, with charity, with its all-consuming fire, we will burst into flame in the likeness of the Seraphim.1

61. Upon the Throne, that is, upon the just judge, sits God, the Judge of all time.

62. Over the Cherub, that is, over the contemplator, He flies and cherishes him as if brooding over him.2

63. Indeed, the Spirit of the Lord is carried over the waters, waters that, it is said, are above the Heavens and that praise God in the pre-dawn hymns in the book of Job.3

64. He who is a Seraph, that is, who is a lover, is in God and God is in him; indeed, God and he are one.

65. Great is the power of the Thrones that we can reach by judging; supreme is the height of the Seraphim that we can reach by loving.