Friday, May 7, 2010

What is meant by Orthodox Spirituality?

"Our mind goes outside itself and so unites with God; it becomes more than mind."  Saint Gregory Palamas
Spirituality is a most difficult term because it is used in many ways, often in ways that denigrate true Christian spirituality.  Often, when one does not have any real faith they say, "I don't believe in any religion but I am spiritual."  The term spiritual generally refers to an undefined inner spirit of man.  So, those who do not have any firm religious belief have some sense of this inner spirit, but no clear path or intent to develop it.  For Orthodox Christians there is a very very clear notion of this inner sense of spirit and a clear path exists to respond to it. 

Orthodox spirituality involves a journey towards a mystical union with God through living the Gospel teachings in the context of the Church and participating in her sacraments and Holy Traditions.  Dumitru Staniloae speaks to this in His book, Orthodox Spirituality.

He says Orthodox Christian spirituality
"presents the process of a Christian progress on the road to perfection in Christ, by the cleansing of the passions and the winning of the virtues, a process which  takes place in a certain order.  In other words, it describes the manner in which the Christian can go forward from the cleansing of one passion to the cleansing of another, and at the same time acquiring of the different virtues."
We need to ask ourselves: "Do we know this process? What are the steps along this path?" 
In the next few posts I will be sharing with you some of the thoughts of this great Orthodox Theologian about these and other questions on Orthodox Spirituality.

reference: Orthodox Spirituality, p 21

1 comment:

  1. I am looking forward to the next few posts. Being drawn to Orthodoxy, I am excited to get started, or rather, chart a new course in my spirituality. Thanks.


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