Monday, July 12, 2010

Perfection: Divine Love Brings Union of All

How by our union with God or others is the union of the entire human nature and its union with God realized?

Fr Dimitru Staniloae wrties,
St. Maximus the Confessor says that first of all love unifies the individual man.  It replaces anger, falsenss, gluttony, and all the tings in which man has taken part by bodily love himself.  When these things no longer exist, no trace of wickedness can persist; in their place various kinds of virtues are introduced, which integrate the power of love.  However, by this unification of the individual man, the unification of individuals between themselvs is also realized.
 While we are here on earth we only can experience love in short ecstatic moments, in relationship with another person or with God.  Even when we are in an ecstatic relationship with God we forget all people.  So how do we experience a union with all people?

Fr. Dimitru says,
It follows that only in peaceful everyday love, manifested in fact and in thought, in Christian love in a broad sense, can we experience more or less love for all men. My interests, my passions, contradictory opinions, as voluntary manifestations, no longer break the unity of nature between me and my neighbor.  Every moment I judge things from the point of view of my neighbor with who I am connected; I replace my ego with his and give up mine.  By doing this right along with various neighbors with whom I come in contact, the sentiment of my union, actual or virtual with anyone, is strengthened.  On my part there is no longer a rift between me and them; I no longer see any such thing.  If they do, I don't.
This steady behavior strengthens the sentiment of my unity with them and with God... The energy of my love for another, also nurtured by the effort of my will, but especially by these moments of ecstatic contemplation, is easily directed later toward other people.  And everywhere I gain a steady disposition of love for anyone, a joy for all, a conviction that in each one I can discover the mystery of enchanting depths.  I feel united virtually with everyone and with every concrete opportunity...
Love for others grows from the habit of love for God and especially fro living it as ecstasy on the culminating step of prayer...
We have the feeling that in the love of God as ecstasy, God has opened His heart to us and received us in it, just as we have opened our heart so that He can enter it.  On the other hand, the coming back to God, to His heart, means to enter His home.  God's "home", however, wants to include all people, because in His heart there is room for everybody, and when I enter it I must feel that by being there I am united with eveyone there.  Coming back to God, we truly come back home where we belong to the supreme parental home, together with all the heavenly Father's children...

Reference: Orthodox Spirituality, pp 323 - 326

1 comment:

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