My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,



By Saint Theophan the Recluse

In looking at a person who has repented, we are looking at a person who has actually entered INTO COMMUNION WITH GOD, but this communion is still hidden, secret, unmanifest. His goal IS TO ATTAIN COMMUNION THAT IS COMPLETE, TANGIBLE, AND PERCEPTIBLE. We must precisely determine all of this for ourselves and be assured, because all the penitent’s LABOR FOR SULAVATION SHOULD BE BUILT UPON THIS FOUNDATION, NAMELY: THAT IN THE MYSTERION (SACRAMENT) OF REPENTANCE/CONFESSION (or Baptism) GRACE DESCENDS PERCEPTIBLY TO THE SPIRIT BUT THEN HIDES ITSELF FROM TEH AWARENESS, ALTHOUGH IT DOES NOT IN FACT GO AWAY. It remains IMPERCEPTABLE UNTIL THE HEART IS PURIFIED, AT WHICH TIME IT DWELLS VISIBLY AND FINALLY. It is obvious that our only instructors in this matter can be the Holy Fathers. None of them expresses it so well as Saint Diodochos, Bishop of Photiki, and Saint Makarios of Egypt. We present their witness to our suppositions.

“Grace settles in a person and stays with him,
from the moment he receives the Mysteries.”

“From the instant, we are baptized,” says Saint Diodochos, “GRACE IS HIDDEN IN THE DEPTHS OF THE INTELLECT.” Also, “For when through Holy Baptism Divine grace in its infinite love permeates the lineaments of God’s image–thereby renewing in the soul the capacity for attaining the Divine likeness–what place is there for the devil? Saint Makarios says: “GRACE IS CONSTANTLY PRESENT, AND IS ROOTED IN US, AND WORKED INTO US LIKE LEAVEN, FROM OUR EARLIEST YEARS, UNTIL THE THING THUS PRESENT BECOMES FIXED IN A MAN LIKE A NATURAL ENDOWMENT, AS IF IT WERE ONE SUBSTANCE WITH HIM.”

“When grace first settles in a person through a Mysterion (Sacrament),
it vouchsafes that person a complete taste of the
the blessedness of COMMUNION WITH GOD.”

“If we fervently desire holiness,” says Saint Diodochos, “the Holy Spirit a the outset gives the soul a full and conscious taste of God’s sweetness so that the intellect will know exactly of what the final reward of the spiritual life consists.” Also, “At the start of the spiritual way, the soul usually has the conscious experience of being ILLUMINED WITH ITS OWN LIGHT THROUGH THE ACTION OF GRACE.”

This most perceptible ILLUMINATION OF GRACE is at first expressed by the white clothing that the newly baptized wear for SEVEN DAYS. That this is NOT just a formality is seen from the examples of the holy converts, for some were visibly clothed in light, upon others a dove descended, and the faces of others became bright.

In general, all who have truly come close to the Lord have felt a certain leaping of spirit, similar to the leaping of the Forerunner (Saint John the Baptist) in the womb of his mother Elizabeth when the Mother of God (Theotokos) approached her carrying the Lord within her. In the lives of Saints, Symeon and John is written that they saw a light around a brother who was baptized and received the Monastic habit–and it lasted SEVEN DAYS. Feeling a particular action of God upon receiving the Monastic habit, they sought to preserve it forever and immediately departed to a solitary place more suitable for that form of asceticism.

“Grace hides from one who is laboring
for his salvation.”

Then grace hides itself from the one who is laboring for his salvation, and although it dwells and works in him, it does so unnoticeably to him, and he is so unaware of it that he often considers himself to be abandoned by God and perishing, which causes him to fall into constrictions, lamentations, and even light depression. Thus Saint Diodochos continues, from the foregoing citation: “Incidentally, it hides THE TREASURE OF THIS LIFE-CREATING GIFT FOR A LONG TIME, SO THAT WE WOULD COUNT OURSELVES AS NOTHING THOUGH WE FULFILL EVERY VIRTUE, FOR WE HAVE NOT YET MADE HOLY LOVE HABITUAL IN OURSELVES…” But as we continue our ascetic struggles, it produces in the theologizing soul, so that it might incline us who have been called, at the first opportunity, from the unknown to the known, to enter the way of Divine visions, and secondly, so that amidst our ascetic labors we might preserve our knowledge FROM VAINGLORY.”

Finally, God dwells in man in a special manner

“Finally, when this period of hidden communion with God and His mysterious activity in the soul is over” (the duration of this period not being in man’s hands but in the guiding wisdom of man-saving grace). “God dwells in man in a special manner. He visibly fills him, unites Himself to him, and communes with him. THIS IS THE GOAL MAN STRIVES TO ACHIEVE THROUGH ALL HIS ASCETIC STRUGGLES AND LABORS, ALL THE ECONOMY OF SALVATION FROM GOD Himself, and all that happens to each person in the present life from birth to the grave. Saint Makarios writes that the work of grace after long trials finally shows itself fully, and THE SOUL ACQUIRES FULL SONSHIP OF THE Spirt God Himself proves the heart, and man is made worthy TO BE ONE SPIRIT WITH THE LORD. According to Saint Diodochos, “If a man, while still alive, can undergo death through his labors, then in his entirety HE BECOMES THE DWELLING PLACE OF THE Holy Spirit.” “GRACE ILLUMINES HIS WHOLE BEING WITH A DEEPER AWARENESS, WARMING HIM WITH GREAT LOVE OF GOD.” This action reveals itself or is accompanied by different manifestations with different people.” [Source:  The Path To Salvation.  A Manual of Spiritual Transformation]


“Glory Be To GOD
All Things!”

– Saint John Chrysostomos

+ + +

With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George

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