Monday, April 12, 2010

How Christ Transforms

The love of God transforms everything; it sanctifies, amends and changes the nature of everything. Elder Porphyrios
What was it like when you first found Christ in your heart?  How did it transform you?  For me, my life was totally changed.  The Church became the center of my life and I found that I was mired in sin but now continually growing in my relationship with God.  This Pascha celebration affirmed this for me.  It was truly the most spiritually alive Divine Liturgy of my life.  Glory be to God for all He provides for us.


Here are some thoughts from Elder Porphyrios:
When  you find Christ, you are satisfied, you desire nothing else, you find peace.  You become a different person. You live everywhere, wherever Christ is.  You live in the stars, in infinity, in heaven with the angels, with the saints, on earth with people, with plants, with animals, with everyone and everything.  when there is love for Christ, loneliness disappears.  You are peaceable, joyous, full.  Neither melancholy, nor illness, nor pressure, nor anxiety, nor depression nor hell.
Source: Wounded By Love, pp 99 - 100 

11 comments:

  1. Blessed be His Holy Name! Elder Porphyrios has stated it so well! Just as drawing closer to a light we see more clearly the imperfections in our physical self, so too, as we draw closer to Christ, we become more aware of our spiritual imperfections. The Joy we receive in Forgiveness and Mercy replace any horror we would have in beholding our sinful selves.

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  2. Be sure to read Elder Porphyrios' book "Wounded By Love." It is excellent.

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  3. Forgive me. Such texts concern me deeply.

    They imply that because I have not known such a thing then I have not yet known Christ. I am Orthodox, yet completely in want, without more than a momentary peace snatched from chaos. I am still very much bound to the earth alone.

    I do not deny that these may be the eventual fruit of His love for me, but I know them not.

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  4. For me the way to think about it is that as we grow spiritually our relationship with Christ grows. elder Porphyrios is a very holy man who probably knew what we commonly call theosis. Its like any relationship. When we first meet a person we only know a little about them. But if it grows into something like a marriage then we know much more about the person and each year we lean even more. This is the aim of the Sacrament of the Church and the ascetic practices she teaches us to follow. As we follow them we come closer and closer to God until it is like a union with Him. He is then in our consciousness at each moment.
    Remember that God is love and wants us all to be in union with Him. Pray for His help and guidance as you work you way through the chaos of this world. This worldly life is the place where we perfect our soul. We are all sinners and struggle as you indicate. Some have tasted the joy and others seek it with sincerity. Its not the joy we should seek but our love and obedience to Christ--to align our will with His. Only a few live continually in this joy Elder Porphyrios suggests.
    We are fortunate to have elders who can lead us along this path.

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  5. I cannot reconcile the quote with your description of the quote. You seem to assume something he doesn't say. That "finding" Christ is something that only comes after years of labor, if at all.

    I am reminded of a story about a desert father who all his followers considered a holy man and on his death bed they wanted a word but it was him who said (something like), "pray for me brothers, because I have not even begun to repent."

    I wish I could remember that father's name. That's a father I can understand.

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  6. I am not sure of your concern here. There is no limit to the ways that God can work. And we are never free of sin. God's grace is continually at work, nurturing us, nudging us on. Most of us, me included, struggle to keep Christ in our consciousness. This world provides so many distractions that the struggle is difficult and demands perfection of our inner being through ascetical efforts such as prayer, fasting, and participation in the Sacraments. All which help us keep the negative forces from closing our heart to God's grace. Its spiritual warfare demanding patience and endurance coupled with love as Saint Paul describes it.
    The reality is as Elder Porphyrios indicates that Christ is transforming. His love when it comes cannot be missed or denied.

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  7. Someday FrDn, I certainly hope someday it comes. I can't speak to something I have never known.

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  8. With love for Him, surely it will.

    "Holy asceticism together with it s great faith in a burst of love for God, brings man to true joy. He is happy to live, for his heart flutters, glorifying his God of benefactions. He is also happy to die, for he thus goes close to God again, ad will continue there his doxology."
    Elder Paisios (Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit, p135)

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  9. I think I have the saint for you. From the Orthodox Way by Bishop Kallistos Ware, p. 107, he quotes from the Sayings of the Desert Fathers: it is Abba Sisois. "The brothers standing around his bed saw that his lips were moving. 'Who are you talking to, Father? 'See,' he replied,'the angels have come to take me, and I am asking them for more time - more time to repent. 'You have no need to repent.' 'Truly, I am not sure whether I have even begun to repent.'

    I am all for sacraments and church teaching, theosis etc. While I am Catholic, I love Orthodoxy and have grown greatly in studying her teachings. But earlier in my life, I had to be "up against the wall." Before I found faith, my son died and I was divorced. Then, I fell in love with Jesus and discovered His peace. I've since remarried. A year ago, my 11 year old step son died. Once more I found myself up against the wall. AFter this is when I seriously began reading about Orthodox teaching.

    Before I was a believer, I kept searching my mind to know Jesus. "Up against the wall," I realized it was my heart (heart as meaning the whole person...mind, emotion, soul, everything) that had to discover and know Jesus. Transformation happens in the heart, not just the mind. It involves letting go and surrender more than acquiring or accomplishing.

    Peace be with you all.
    ponderintheheart.blogspot.com

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  10. Thanks Justin for the quote and your personal insights.
    I also personally relate to you thought about surrendering rather than acquiring. For many of us this is a BIG step. we learn to trust in the teachings of the Way of Life taught by the Church which is Christ here on earth, we embrace them, as we are embracing Christ Himself. Our life changes. Grace flows freely until we again try to acquire something.
    SaintTheophan does the best job of describing this process in his book Path to Salvation which you can find numerous entries on this blog.

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  11. Thank you Justin, yes that was the story. But there are plenty of others I could have chosen. I appreciate FrDn's cheerfulness, I await such gifts at the time of God's choosing.

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