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Existence/Non-Existence

“In times of adversity, we can find solace in the words of St. Isaac the Syrian. He wrote, “In love did He bring the world into existence; in love does He guide it during this its temporal existence; in love is He going to bring it to that wondrous transformed state, and in love will the world be swallowed up in the great mystery of Him who has performed all these things; in love will the whole course of the governance of creation be finally comprised.” (Fr. Basil)


“The most profound, life-giving examples of human existence are seen in our acts of self-emptying. The birth and nurture of a child is, at its best, an act of love in which the self-emptying of its parents is on full display. To my knowledge, no other mammal enters the world with such helpless vulnerability as a human being. Most mammals can walk within hours of their birth. Our helplessness requires self-emptying love for an extended period of time. Doubtless, various theoreticians can suggest any number of practical reasons that we begin life in such a state. But, no matter how it is described, our infancy and childhood reveal that the “law” that is written in the heart extends far beyond a social contract. Love itself is written there.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


“To know and be known by another is a deep desire of the heart. This desire is implanted in us by God. He tells Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5). This applies to all of us. God has intimate knowledge of us before we exist as we know existence, and then desires we know Him so we can be complete. This is why so many people who find their way to God and begin to know Him are filled with a joy and a fervor that often seems either irrational, or difficult to understand, by others who have not sought or found God. God wants us to know Him intimately and then extend this same love to others.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)


“The Scriptures say that “God is love.” They do not say that God simply “has” love. God “is” love, which makes love a matter of ontology. That God is love is perfectly consistent with His existence as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. What we do not see clearly is that we are love, just as truly as God is love. Love is a mode of existence, indeed, the mode of existence….Love is more than moral – it is the very nature of true being and existence. Those who refuse love are choosing a path towards non-existence.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


“Nihilism, a condition in which we experience existence as meaningless, is a growing reality for many people. There are countless theories and, no doubt, reasons for why belief in God is so difficult in the modern world, but I would argue strongly that one of them is because our experience of time is increasingly removed from the incarnational world where God’s love comes to make us whole in a concrete, embodied way.” (Sarah Clarkson)


“Fear of men, with their finite power and unproven opinions, always rises from the wellspring of atheism. Those who fear men do not see the hand of God in all things – neither the great events of history, nor the fall of a tiny sparrow to the ground. If we cut out the spiritual aspect of life, what remains? Only existence without life!” (Dynamis 6/22/2023)


“…a man who escapes from the open confrontation with the threat of non-existence with the help of various securities (ideals, ethics, etc.) is closer to faithlessness than the one who—to remember the Dostoyevskian scene of Christ’s confrontation with the Grand Inquisitor—has no objectified security to rely upon. For a person who has become indifferent to the problem of existence has made a decisive step towards thinghood, and things are incapable of faith.” (Metropolitan John Zizioulas)


“The perception of beauty is as essential to the soul as the perception of heat and cold, up and down, right and wrong. The subjectivization of beauty is a war of the secular against its only possible opponent. At stake is the soul of human beings. Secularism would ultimately deny the existence of the soul, unless there is some form of “survival” after death. That there is an unseen dimension of each human life, transcending emotions and thought, is unacknowledged in a world that is increasingly materialistic. The soul, as a truly existing reality, is as easily denied as the Body and Blood of Christ.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


“Perhaps the greatest uncertainty with which many struggle is that of death. Even those of great faith have moments where they ponder this great mystery. However, if we guide our perceptions and understanding on the love of God, we can begin to catch glimpses of the reality that everything is going to be okay. In fact, more than okay, they will be jubilant and joyful. Would the love of God tolerate a permanent separation from us, from those whom He loves? Certainly not. Would God permit us to sleep forever? Certainly not. Would God want us to spend eternity in the darkness of non-existence? Certainly not! Love would not tolerate any of those realities. Would we desire those dark realities for own children? Certainly not! So it is with God’s love for us. We see the love of God expressed through action in Christ’s death and resurrection and God filling all places with Himself. We cannot escape the love of God and His presence. There is no greater certainty on which for us to lean than the love of God.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)


“We must live accordingly if we are to bear faithful witness to Him. We must open our darkened souls to Christ’s healing in order to become shining beacons of His salvation, if we are to have anything worthwhile to contribute to our neighbors. If we are truly in Christ, we must become the light of the world in every dimension of our existence. This is a calling that none of us has fulfilled, but which we must pursue each day if we are to participate in the eternal life which the Savior, fully divine and fully human, came to share with all who bear His divine image and likeness. Instead of finding ways to diminish and domesticate Him according to our own preferences or whatever is popular and easy today, we must enter into the life of the God-Man through repentance by entrusting ourselves to the One Who alone can make every dimension of the human person radiant. That is the only way to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father Who is in heaven.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)


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