A person is perfect in this life when as a pledge of what is to come he
receives the grace to assimilate himself to the various stages of
Christ’s life. In the life to come perfection is made manifest through
the power of deification.

St. Gregory of Sinai, Philokalia, Vol. 4


A person is perfect in this life when as a pledge of what is to come he
receives the grace to assimilate himself to the various stages of
Christ’s life. In the life to come perfection is made manifest through
the power of deification.

St. Gregory of Sinai, Philokalia, Vol. 4

The Artisan & Field Worker

Although the Holy Fathers praised monasticism as the angelic state, and although many of the greatest saints lived their lives and attained perfection in the deaf and lifeless desert, nevertheless, the Orthodox Church does not recommend tonsuring to all the faithful. “Neither all those in the desert were saved nor all those in the world were lost,” said one saint. To a city dweller who, with no inclination for monasticism, desired to enter the monastery, St. Niphon said: “My child, a place neither saves nor destroys a man, but deeds save or destroy. For him who does not fulfill all the commandments of the Lord, there is no benefit from a sacred place or from a sacred rank. King Saul lived in the midst of royal luxury and he perished. King David lived in the same kind of luxury and he received a wreath. Lot lived among the lawless Sodomites and he was saved. Judas was numbered among the apostles and he went to Hades. Whoever says that it is impossible to be saved with a wife and children deceives himself. Abraham had a wife and children, three-hundred-eighteen servants and handmaidens, much gold and silver but, nevertheless, he was called the Friend of God. Oh, how many servants of the Church and lovers of the desert have been saved! How many aristocrats and soldiers! How many artesians and field-workers! Be pious and be a lover of men and you will be saved!” – St. Nikolai Velimirovich

The Purpose of Life

“This life has been given to you for repentance; do not waste it in vain pursuits.” – St. Isaac the Syrian

Forgetting Theosis is Blindness

“At the present time,” the elder replied, “Owing to our almost universal coldness to our holy faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and our inattention to the working of His Divine Providence in us, and to the communion of man with God, we have gone so far that, one may say, we have almost abandoned the true Christian life. The testimonies of Holy Scripture now seem strange to us; when, for instance, by the lips of Moses the Holy Spirit says: “And Adam saw the Lord walking in Paradise” (cf. Gen. 3:10), or when we read the words of the Apostle Paul: “We went to Achaia, and the Spirit of God went not with us; we returned to Macedonia, and the Spirit of God came with us.” More than once in other passages of Holy Scripture the appearance of God to men is mentioned.

“That is why some people say: “These passages are incomprehensible. Is it really possible for people to see God so openly?” But there is nothing incomprehensible here. This failure to understand has come about because we have departed from the simplicity of the original Christian knowledge. Under the pretext of education, we have reached such a darkness of ignorance, that the things the ancients understood so clearly, seem to us almost inconceivable. Even in ordinary conversation, the idea of God’s appearance among men did not seem strange to them. Thus, when his friends rebuked him for blaspheming God, Job answered them: “How can that be when I feel the Spirit of God in my nostrils?” (cf. Job 27:3). That is, “How can I blaspheme God when the Holy Spirit abides with me? If I had blasphemed God, the Holy Spirit would have withdrawn from me; but look! I feel His breath in my nostrils.”

Theosis: the aim of Christian Life

“It was Thursday,” writes Motovilov. “The day was gloomy. The snow lay eight inches deep on the ground; and dry, crisp snowflakes were falling thickly from the sky when St. Seraphim began his conversation with me in a field near his hermitage, opposite the river Sarovka, at the foot of the hill which slopes down to the river bank. He sat me on the stump of a tree which he had just felled, and squatted opposite me.

“The Lord has revealed to me,” said the great elder, “that in your childhood you had a great desire to know the aim of our Christian life, and that you have continually asked many great spiritual persons about it.”

The goal of all we do

In our catechisms, sermons and everything said by parents, teachers, clergy and other workers of the Church, instead of talking about sterile improvements of mankind, let us educate Christians towards Theosis. This is the genuine spirit and experience of the Church. Otherwise, the virtues, regardless of how great they may be, do not, in fact, fulfill the purpose of the Christian life. They are simply ways and means which prepare us to accept Theosis, the Grace of the Holy Spirit, as St. Seraphim of Sarov taught so clearly. [source]

St. Seraphim on Fire

Abba Joseph, a desert father, was approached by Abba Lot, who informed him that he had kept his rule of prayer, fasted, purified his thoughts, and lived peaceably—what more could he do? Abba Joseph held out his hands toward heaven, fingers extended, and said, “You can become fire.” Each fingertip blazed like a candle. Abba Joseph’s point was that the younger monk could be set ablaze by the Holy Spirit. [source]

St. Seraphim on Deification

St. Seraphim of Sarov, a Russian monk of the nineteenth century, went into the forest with his disciple, Motovilov, during a snowstorm. While praying, St. Seraphim became iridescent in appearance, to the point of emitting what was for Motovilov an almost blinding light. Accompanying this glow was a warmth in the midst of the Russian winter snow, along with a beautiful fragrance and unspeakable joy and peace. St. Seraphim attributed this blessed state to his having acquired the Holy Spirit, or deification. [source]

God became man, that man become God.

St. Clement of Alexandria: “The Word of God became man, that you may learn from man how man may become God.”

St. Athanasius of Alexandria: “For he was made man that we might be made God…and…he himself has made us sons of the Father, and deified men by becoming himself man.”

St. Gregory the Theologian: “Let us become as Christ is, since Christ became as we are; let us become gods for his sake, since he became man for our sake.”

St. Gregory of Nyssa: “…the Word became incarnate so that by becoming as we are, he might make us as he is.”

St. John Chrysostom: “He became Son of man, who was God’s own Son, in order that he might make the sons of men to be children of God.”

St. Ephrem the Syrian: “He gave us divinity, we gave him humanity.”

St. Hilary of Poitiers: “For when God was born to be man, the purpose was not that the Godhead should be lost but that, the Godhead remaining, man should be born to be god.”

St. Augustine of Hippo: “God wanted to be the Son of Man and he wanted men to be the Sons of God.”

Pope St. Leo the Great: “[The Savior] was made the son of man, so that we could be the sons of God…and…He united humanity to himself in such a way that he remained God, unchangeable. He imparted divinity to human beings in such a way that he did not destroy, but enriched them, by glorification.”

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