Thursday, April 8, 2010

Christ is Paradise

"Divine Grace is constantly knocking at the door of our soul and waiting for us to open so that it can enter our thirsty heart and fill it."  Elder Porphyrios
The whole point of our annual cycle of Lent, Holy Week and then Pascha celebration is to open our hearts so that they can be filled with Divine Grace.  This is our purpose on earth.  We must continually seek to be united with Christ–-to enter into His light. Elder Porphyrios says that Christ is Paradise and we are to enter it here and now.
Christ is Paradise my children. What is Paradise? It is Christ. Paradise begins here and now. It is exactly the same: those who experience Christ here on earth, experience Paradise. That's the way it is, just as I tell you. This is right, it's true, believe me! Our task is to attempt to find a way to enter into the light of Christ.
We must push ourselves to learn how to enter into His light each and every day.  The way taught by our Church fathers involves great effort. This includes fasting an prayer. We fast regularly on Wednesday and Friday and pray daily according to a specific rule of prayer. We worship and participate regularly in the sacraments, especially Holy Confession and Holy Communion. As Saint Paul continually reminds us, we are engaged in spiritual warfare and we must prepare ourselves for this contest no less than an athlete preparing for the Olympics.  God's grace is given freely, but we must be prepared and open to receive it, and then be able to act on it.

Elder Porphyrios says,
The essence of the matter is for us to be with Christ; for our soul to wake up and love Christ and become holy.

Quotes from Wounded by Love, p 96,97

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