THE SPIRITUAL POTENTIAL OF THE ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN

My beloved spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ God,

CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.

THE SPIRITUAL POTENTIAL OF THE
ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN

Saint Cyril of Alexandria, commenting on John 1:23, writes: "We that are made worthy to participate in Him [the Holy Spirit], through faith in Christ we are brought TO PERFECTION AS PARTICIPANTS OF THE DIVINE NATURE (1:4) and are said to be born of God, and on that account are given the title gods, not flying up to the glory above us by grace alone, but as already having God indwelling and taking lodging in us, according to what is set forth in the Prophet, ‘I shall dwell among them and walk about in their midst’ (Leviticus 26:12; 2 Corinthians 6:16).

According to our Faith, we were created with the potential to achieve perfection through grace. Our Gracious and Merciful God sent His Only-begotten Son Jesus Christ to become man and, through His suffering and Resurrection from the dead, to restore man to his original state of grace and enable him to attain perfection. Therefore, the divine goal of man is to become perfect in God. This means, of course, that man is called to a life in Christ. In other words, to live a Christ-like life. A life of total obedience to Him and to His Divine commandments.

Living in Christ God we must be willing to struggle, sacrifice, and be willing to make a life-long commitment to Him. A commitment based on faith and love, and not by force or coercion. After all, God granted us free will. He never uses force to compel anyone to do His will. Anything that is done by force has absolutely no value whatsoever. Therefore, life in Christ means a willing and free submission to the Lord. It means to abandon all worldly and sinful ways and to purify ourselves of all stains and passions. Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Matthew 5:8). When the soul is free from all sinful desires and is no longer dominated by evil passions, nor its energy dessipated by things of this world, its only desire is God. Then, the heart–holding fest to the New Life in Christ and conemplating the glory of God (1 Corinthians 3:18), "shall see God" through communion with His Son and Our Savior.

Through the Divine energies, the Orthodox Christian experiences His presence from within. More specifically, we experience mystical union with Christ through the Mysteriion of the Divine Eucharist. It is imperative for the believer to understand this fact deeply and know that Orthodox spirituality is union with Christ God. The Divine Eucharist is not an ancient religious ritual to be observed as a spectator, but a mystical experience through which one becomes one with our Savior, Who bestows on him or her "remission of sins and life eternal."

Saint John the Baptist and Forerunner taught his disciples, "He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30). He renounces all earthly glory and glories only in Christ. That is how it should be for all Christians. The greater our knowledged of God, the lesser importance is our self and our worldly affairs. The more one contemplates on the knowledge of God, the more we realizes his limitations of knowing Him or His essence. Our Creator is and will always remain a great mystery to man. What we know of Him is only what He Himself has revealed to us thruogh His Divine grace, energies, and most of all, through His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ.

The spiritual potential of the Orthodox Christian is incomprehensible. Our Almighty God has given us everything that one needs to accomplish our purpose, which is to achieve moral perfection through the acquisition of the Holy Spirit. It is He Who will lead us and make it possible to attain purification, illumination, and perfection needed for salvation. God is Light! When He appears to us, He appears as Light. In 1 John !:5, the holy Apostle says, "This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, THAT GOD IS LIGHT AND IN HIM IS NO DARKNESS AT ALL." As the children of God, we enjoy His Light which energizes and illuminates us. "If we say tht we have fellowship with Him and then walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if WE WALK IN THE LIGHT AS HE IS THE LIGHT, WE HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH ONE ANOTHER AND THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST HIS SON, CLEANSING US FROM ALL SIN" (1 John 1:6-7).

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