Wednesday, January 26, 2011

When Grace is Active

Those who are saved, that is, those who will enter the eternal Kingdom of God, are only those in whom grace dwells; not secretly, but openly, permeating our entire essence and becoming even outwardly visible, absorbing, as it were, our entire nature. – Saint Theophan the Recluse

So, what does it mean to have grace permeate our entire being?  Saint Theophan offers the following,
All those entering into contact with such a grace-filled person feel an unusual force present within him, which manifests itself in different ways. When such a person begins to speak about something spiritual, everything emanates from him as brightly as the midday sun, and his words go directly to the soul, authoritatively forming corresponding feelings and dispositions within. Even if he does not speak, he exudes a warmth which touches everything, and a certain force goes out, which stimulates moral energy and engenders readiness for every kind of spiritual action and exploit. 
For grace to permeate our entire being requires our total dedication to doing the will of God. We cannot be lukewarm in our commitment. This is the worst condition because we are complacent and God will surely reject us. St. John the Theologian reports to us the following,
I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. (Revelations 3:15–16)
St. Theophan says,
One must be fervent towards God and all that is Divine, but cold towards everything secular and worldly. If you are neither cold towards the secular, nor fervent towards the Divine, but are instead lukewarm and half-cold towards both one and the other, you will be cast out by God.
We must work to maintain our zeal so we will not be lukewarm in our relationship with God.

  Reference: The Spiritual Life, pp 124–128

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