This week I am one of several women from my parish who are flying together to Arizona, on pilgrimage to The Holy Monastery of Saint Paisius. I don’t expect to be posting to my blog for a few days, but I thought I would share this quote from their patron St. Paisius Velichkovsky that the sisters have on their website; he offers plenty to meditate on while I am away:
I IMPLORE and exhort you, my beloved fathers, brethren, and children, in the following: Love the Lord with all thy soul and all thy heart. Be righteous and just, submissive, with bowed head and your mind turned towards heaven. Have contrition towards God and men. Be a consoler of the sorrowful, patient in trials, and not given to irritation, bountiful, merciful, a feeder of the poor, receiver of strangers, sorrowful for the sake of sins, joyful in God, hungry and thirsty, meek, patient, not a lover of glory, not a lover of gold, a lover of your neighbor, not hypocritical, not proud, a lover of labor for the sake of God, silent, pleasant in replies, fervent in fasting, in frequent prayers, vigils, and psalm-singing, sensible. Do not judge any man, but condemn yourself. And for this you will be the child of the Gospel, the son of the Resurrection, the inheritor of life in Christ Jesus our Lord. To Him may there be honor and power and worship, with the Father and the Most Holy Spirit, both now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
To be a Christian is to be a traveller… like the Israelite people in the desert of Sinai, we live in tents, not houses, for spiritually we are always on the move. We are on a journey through the inward space of the heart, a journey not measured by the hours of our watch or the days of the calendar, for it is a journey out of time into eternity.
– Met. Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way
It is less than a month since Metropolitan Kallistos reposed in death, and I ran across this quote from him, which is especially meaningful at this point in chronos time.
“…In the age before Constantine, Christians were able to be the salt of the earth without losing their flavor. They lived in close-knit community with one another without closing themselves off from their neighbors. Theirs was truly a way of life, not merely a religion. Their experience of God was metaphysical and meta-political. It was rooted in the ineffable revelation of the infinite, transcendent God Who kenotically [self- emptying of Jesus] irrupted into His orderly creation in order to cast out chaos and perfect human nature. He descended so that mankind, in Him, may ascend. We must recapture this orientation. Every thought must be taken captive to obey Christ (2 Cor 2:5).
“Becoming his disciple is ever a radical choice in a world filled with egotism, for faith propels us toward the other as we discover a universe in the soul of each person. In self-denial, we open ourselves up to eternity. Indeed, we only discover life once we are willing to lose it. In community we discover the love of the Father.
“It is for this reason that the Gospel cannot be reconciled with society and its false ideals of pride and power, comfort and pleasure. All of reality must be conformed to—or rather transformed by—the ethics of Paradise. Christianity is not a religion of self-actualization, nor a system of political and socioeconomic standards. It does not exist to affirm and fulfill our personal dreams or desires. Christ has come to save us from ourselves.”
The Resurrection of Jesus… was the ultimate human experience. For the first time, a human brain and a human nervous system were suffused from within by the energies of the Resurrection. The whole, material universe begins to be transformed from that moment to what Paul will call “the fullness of Christ.” For the first time, a human heart pulsed with a life beyond the power of death, the pulsation of a heart which will never stop. For all eternity that heart will beat.
Jesus was thereby manifest as the “firstborn from the dead” as he is called in the book of Revelation. His experience of rising from the dead, the first man to do so, is the secure promise of the glory that awaits all those who are joined to him in faith and Divine Grace. This will be the final stage of Salvation. The final stage of Salvation will come only at the end of the world. You see, even dying and going to heaven is not the last stage. It’s a rather important one, but it’s not the last stage. True Soteria—True Salvation—is found when our bodies will rise in glory.