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Sunday of the Orthodoxy – Metropolitan Naum of Strumica

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Refer: John 1: 43-51

 

First of all, I would like to draw your attention to Philip’s answer: “Come and see!”, To Nathaniel’s question, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” as well as Nathaniel’s acceptance of the call. This is the simplest and most reliable personal method of checking things out.

The words “come and see!” In the context of the Orthodox spiritual way of life and asceticism mean nothing other than: purification of the heart from the passions and enlightenment of the mind, asceticism and gift, practice and theory. One simply does not work without the other.

 

Today’s Gospel reading is yet another historical testimony and a concrete example of a perfect prayer union and relationship between God and man, between the First-image and His icon; a testimony to a fulfilled prayer and a realised personal relationship.

When Christ says to Nathaniel, “When you were under the fig tree, I saw you,” He actually reveals to him who is the One that heard him (when he was praying), but also reveals to him who is the One that fulfils his prayer completely and for real. And Nathaniel with his answer reveals and testifies that in the God-Man Christ, he recognises the One to Whom he prayed and Whom he only sought in prayer – the Son of God and the expected Messiah.

 

Who else can know what is going on in Nathaniel’s heart and mind but God Himself? Thus, I do not know what to admire first: whether Nathaniel’s prayer, in which he seeks only Him; or its (his prayer) perfect fulfilment – both as a mystical experience and as a personal encounter in reality – by the God-Man Christ?

 

What can we conclude from this meeting and in general from the tradition of the Holy Fathers about the struggle (effort) of the knowledge of God in the context of today’s feast – Sunday of Orthodoxy?

According to the experience of all Saints, the only foundation of true spiritual life is the true faith. Participation in the true faith in the Church also means participation in the true grace. True faith unites man with God.

Our created energy enters into the process of transfiguration, that is, purification, enlightenment, and deification only in communication with the uncreated energy of the One True God, and not with something created, even though it has been called and regarded by some people (or by the majority of people) as a god or something divine.

Also, the true Orthodox and ascetic spiritual life in the Church is the only method that leads to the knowledge of the true faith, to the knowledge of God.

 

The knowledge of truth, on a personal level, is not an intellectual human achievement, but, above all, it is God’s gift of enlightenment of the mind and deification of the person; a gift of God obtained after the great struggle of purifying the heart from passions.

Therefore, it is absolutely necessary, in addition to the struggle to preserve the true faith at all costs, to preserve the true ascetic-hesychastic tradition in the Church, the tradition of the prayer of the mind in the heart.

And one more thing, what sort of prayer is that for which the Lord appears in person? Listen: any other supplication during the prayer, such as: request for good health, happiness, well-being, and not a request for Him and Him alone is a defilement of the purity of the Orthodox faith; and it degrades us – from children of God to hired workers (ones who works for reward) or slaves (ones who do, or do not do, something out of fear). Not that God will not give us what we ask for, but then we will not see Him.

 

Most-Holy Bogorodica, save us!

Metropolitan Naum of Strumica

(20.03.2021 17:01)


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