Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Aim

God calls us to perfection (Matt 5:48). This can't be obtained without the participation in the divine-human life of Christ.  
"Therefore the goal of Orthodox Spirituality is the perfection of the believer by his union with Christ."

Dimitru Staniloae sees the following features of Orthodox Christian Spirituality:
1. The culminating state of the spiritual life is a union of the soul with God, lived or experienced.
2. This union is realized by the working of the Holy Spirit, but until it is reached man is involved in a prolonged effort of purification.
3. It takes place when man reaches the "likeness of God."  It is at the same time knowledge and love.
4. Among other things, the effect of this union consists of a considerable intensification of spiritual energies in man, accompanied by all kinds of charismas.

He then says ,
The goal of Christian Orthodox spirituality is none other than living in a state of deification or participation in the divine life.
This raises the question, what is this state of deification? What is the nature of this "love and knowledge"? How do we attain it and how are we perfected. Fr. Staniloae says it involves "a prolonged effort  of purification."  More on this.  

Next some thoughts on deification.

Ref: Orthodox Spirituality p 22.

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