My beloved spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
THE PATH TO OUR SPIRITUAL PERFECTION
By Metropolitan Hierotheos of
The most important work of the Church is TO CURE MAN. Therefore the Orthodox Church IS A HOSPITAL, AN INFIRMARY OF THE SOUL. This does not mean that the Church disregards other domains of pastoral activity, since she aims AT THE WHOLE MAN, CONSISTING OF BODY AND SOUL. She cares indeed for the physical, economic, and actual problems as well; yet the man wight of the pastoral service is put ON THE SOUL’S THERAPY, FOR WHEN MAN’S SOUL IS CURED THEN MANY OTHER INTRACTABLE PROBLEMS ARE SOLVED…
"… Healing of man’s personality is in fact his progress toward perfection which is actually identified AS THEOSIS (DEIFICATION), for in Patristic theology THEOSIS and PERFECTION ARE SYNONYMOUS TERMS. And this therapy IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY, BECAUSE MAN’S FALL, EFFECTED IN THE PERSON OF Adam, CONSTITUTES THE SICKNESS OF MAN’S NATURE.
In Paradise, before the Fall, Adam was IN A STATE OF THEORIA (VISION) of God. The study of the Book of Genesis reveals that Adam WAS IN within COMMUNION WITH GOD, however, it was necessary for him to remain in that state, BY VIRTUE OF THE VOLUNTARY STRUGGLE, IN ORDER FOR HIM TO BECOME MORE STAGLIZED AND REACH PERFECT COMMUNION AND UNION WITH Him. Saint John of Damascus describes this state of PRIMORDIAL "JUSTICE" CHARACTERISTICALLY. Adam was purified and nourished at the same time BY THE VISION OF GOD. His NOUS was ILLUMINED, AND THIS SIGNIFIES ABOVE ALL THAT HE WASTHE MEGACOSMOS A TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND WAS EXPERIENCING UNCEASING REMEMBRANCE OF GOD.
"Original’ ("Ancestral’) sin CONSISTS OF THE DARKENING OF THE NOUS AND THE LOSS OF COMMUNION WITH GOD. This, of course, had other repercussions, as well: MAN WAS CLOTHED IN THE FLESHLY GARMENTS OF DECAY AND MORTALITY. The NOUS experienced A DEEP DARKNESS. In other words, MAN LOST THE ILLUMINATION of his nous; it BECAME IMPURE, IMPASSIONED AND HIS BODY BORE CORRUPTION AND MORTALITY. Thus, from THE DAY OF OUR BIRTH, WE BEAR WITHIN US CORRUPTION AND DEATH: A HUMAN LIFE IS BROUGHT INTO THE WORLD BOUND FOR DEATH. Hence, because of the Fall, we experience universal malady. Both BODY AND SOUL ARE SICK and naturally since man IS THE SUMMATION OF ALL CREATION,–THE MICROCOSMOS WITHIN THE MEGACOSMOS–CORRUPTION ALSO BEFELL ALL OF CREATION.
"…Man NEEDS TO BE CURED, that is PURIFIED, TO REACH THE ILLUMINATION OF THE NOUS–Adam’s state BEFORE THE FALL–AND THEN ATTAIN THEOSIS (DEIFICATION). This IS ACHIEVED PRECISELY THROUGH CHRIST’S INCARNATION AND THE ENTIRE WRK OF THE DIVINE ECONOMY AND OF THE CHURCH. It is within this frame of reference we must see many liturgical texts according to which Christ IS CHARACTERIZED A Physician and Healer of souls and bodies. Moreover, in the same framework various Patristic texts should be studied, where it is apparent that "THE WORK OF CHRIST IS FIRST AND FOREMOST A THERAPEUTIC ONE."
After the Fall man needed a cure. This was offered by the Incarnation of Christ and ever since then, it has been the work of the Church. She (Church) CURES AND IS CURING MAN; SHE (Church) primarily cures his ailing personality–his NOUS and HEART. All the Holy Fathers of the Church exhort men to seek to e cured. Man IS CURED BY THE ENERGY OF GOD WHOSE SOURCE IS UNCREATED AND REVEALED: "IN THE PERSON OF CHRIST." Christ’s energy, from which comes MAN’S CURE, is granted, and for this reason, is called Divine Grace. Therefore, whether we say UNCREATED ENERGY or DIVINE GRACE MAKES NO DIFFERENCE. The Apostle Paul writes: "FOR BY GRACE ARE YE SAVED THROUGH FAITH, AND THAT NOT OF YOURSELVES: IS IS A GIFT FROM GOD" (Ephesians 2:8).
[Please note: The word NOUS has various uses in Patristic teaching. It indicates