Ascend…ascend eagerly.

I am 47 and I’m finally  putting all of the pieces together and Orthodoxy has helped me in this process in so many ways that I cannot even begin to describe.  “What is life all about?”  “What is most important?”  You see, grasping and coming to an understanding of these questions is the beginning of having and living a life truly that matters:  For in fact the goal of our life is not the attainment of stuff, of “things” like  fame, fortune, pleasure, profit or ease.  The only goal of  life, in this world and in the next is: Communion and Union with the Holy Trinity, or as the Church has always called it Theosis… becoming in all things one ‘a divine partaker’ of the very nature of Christ.

How many distractions have I given myself over to in this life, with all the fullness and strength I could muster?  Sports… Grades in school… Work related accolades…  trivial things?  None of these in and of themselves is ‘bad’, in fact all of these can be good things, and it is good to strive for excellence in everything, but how much more so should we strive with great passion to attain the One Thing in life that truly matters?  It is true, I am 47, but I am giving my life today, and for the rest of my days to aquiring and living the fullness of faith, to what our spiritual fathers speak of below.  This is what matters – the only thing that matters in the end.  My trophies are broken and gather dust, plaques break, press clippings yellow and decay, money comes and goes, illicit pleasure is a lie… but pursuit of God is absolute  joy both now and forevermore.

Of course, you need labor and effort, both mental and from the heart. Do not spare yourself.   If you do, you will ruin yourself.   Do not spare yourself, and you will have salvation. Abandon a certain wrongful activity that often strikes and afflicts almost everyone: That is, the fact that we spare no labor on any matter except when it comes to that of salvation. We want to think that we have only to contemplate salvation and desire it, and everything is all set. That is not how it happens in reality. The matter of salvation is the most important thing. Consequently it is the most difficult. This is by virtue of its importance and by the labor required. Labor then, for the Lord’s sake! Very soon you will see the fruit. If you do not set to work, however, you will be left without anything and be unworthy. Deliver us, Lord, from this! – St. Theophan the Recluse, The Spiritual Life and How to Be Attuned to It, Letter 51

Theology without action (praxis) is the theology of demons.  – St. Maximos the Confessor

Anaphora!  Glory to God for all things.


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