Monday, August 8, 2011

Theological rock

Here are a couple of passages from two books that I keep near me, alongside my Bible. The first is from the book "Hymn of Entry" by Archimandrite Vasileios.

What unites the saints is the freedom of the Spirit. They are free from their wills, from themselves. This is the proof and assurance of the genuineness of their truth. It is not the man speaking, but the Spirit of God. Thus a trinitarian balance reigns within them and flows round about them because in them is no "individual" initiative, no arbitrary dealings, no partial view, but a universal manifestation. The Lord's judgment is just because He seeks not His own will, but the will of the Father who sent Him (cf. John 5:30). The Comforter consoles the people of God and leads it "into all truth" because He does not speak of Himself. What is important is not that we should achieve the project we have set ourselves to achieve, but that the Holy Spirit should do with us and within us what He wishes, when He wishes, regardless of whether this seems, or is, disastrous for our projects and our good resolutions.

This release from his own will and total captivity to the freedom of the Comforter means that man's theological testimony can be heard, like a message of resurrection, from the whole of his behavior and his being. It makes the course of his life into a script which can be clearly read, theologically mature and universally saving. Theology is a creation, a superabundance of life, a gift, an overflowing, an involuntary movement. It emanates from the whole body of the life of those who are spiritually liberated, like the sound that comes from all the vibrating metal of a bell.

"And I should like to be silent (if only I could!), but the terrible wonder moves my heart and opens my sullied mouth, and against my will makes me speak and write," says St. Symeon the New Theologian; not to mention once again the great Apostle, who confesses: "Necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!" (1 Cor. 9:16). He was incapable of not preaching, of not creating theology, of not manifesting in word and deed the wonders of God which he was tasting and which were being revealed in him. Theology wells up; and man is a theological rock. When struck with the rod of the new Moses, he can send streams gushing forth, soaking his desolate land and making meadows where there was no water.

The second is from the book "Light in the Darkness" by Sergei Fudel.

When the circle draws to its close, there will remain on earth, unconquered, the "two or three" holy ones, the Church of Christ; and the light of their holiness will be too strong for human history. This will be the end of history. These unconquerable "two or three" will show that the Kingdom of Heaven and the Will of God are fulfilled in them "on earth as in heaven" and that all of humanity could have been such as they.

We usually know (that is, when we're in our right mind, we know) that the easy way is to follow the call of Jesus and make His Word our home, to seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and His righteousness, and we cannot understand why this isn't clear to everyone, why our fellow Christians turn to the consolations of mere religion or the self-bestowed righteousness of their works. We know that "all humanity could be" as the unconquered, unconquerable ones that Sergei writes about. And I hope there are going to be more than "two or three", no, I know that there are more than this. Where my hope lies is in the thought that I also may be one of them.

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