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Spiritual Life

“[the book of Genesis ]… commences with, ‘In the beginning God created…” and ends with the words, ‘… in a coffin in Egypt.‘ These first and last words of the first book of Moses, Genesis, are in themselves a summary of man’s spiritual history, for God is ever saving and man is ever falling; God is ever delivering and man is ever becoming enslaved; God is ever giving life and man is ever choosing death.” (Archbishop Lazar Puhalo)

“And this is the mystery of the Christian life: Christ takes you, makes you one with Him and, while you seem to be living the same life as others are, you’ve become a little God, a God ‘walking about in the flesh’, as one of the Church Fathers puts it. It’s clear, then, that what we call life is something beyond that which is registered by the senses. Life can be eternal life, the life of God within us; but it can also be a necrosis which only seems to be life. As was the case of those who didn’t follow the Lord and concerning whom He said: ‘Leave the dead to bury their dead’ (Matth. 8:22), meaning that they were living dead.” (Protopresbyter Georgios Dorbarakis)

“The Lord said in John’s Gospel, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (KJV John 5:24). Thus, those who believe in Christ are already transferred from the sphere of spiritual death into the realm of eternal life. As those alive in Christ, they are not subject to God’s condemnation but abide in Him and live in His grace…let us thank God for our release from spiritual death by baptism and by belief in the work of God who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead (Colossians 2:12). And let us consider ourselves “dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11).” (Fr. Basil)

“In today’s passage [Ephesian 2:4-10], the Apostle Paul summarizes the “great love” of God for His people in three declarations: God “made us alive together with Christ” (vs. 5); “raised us up together” in Christ (vs. 6); “and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (vs. 6). Each assertion of God’s love is stated in the past tense, as a fait accompli. God has gone on record to establish His rich mercy and great love for us, so that we, as His workmanship in Christ Jesus, would be able to discharge those “good works which [He] prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (vs. 10). But if we are to be “made alive,” we must first know that we are dead. Hence, Saint Paul reminds us that “we were dead in trespasses” (vs. 5). He contradicts here the common error of approaching death from the wrong direction, as strictly the end of physical life, the mortality of the body. To limit death this way obscures the profound death of which the apostle speaks. Many of us are “dead” for a time, although we live in an animated body, for spiritual death precedes physical cessation for all who are “in Adam” (1 Cor 15:22).” (Dynamis 11/28/2021)

“Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.” (John 8:51). When the Lord Jesus claimed that those who keep His word shall never see death, He was proclaiming a spiritual truth which cannot be understood only in a literal way. For Christ Himself will die as do all of His disciples and followers. What I think He means is that we will not see death because Christ Himself has filled Hades/Sheol with Himself. When we die, we won’t see [the face of] death because Christ now fills all things causing death to vanish. When we die, we shall see the face of our Savior…Christ has filled everything including the nethermost regions of the cosmos- Hades/hell/Sheol- with Light, namely with Himself. Now even when we go to the place of the dead we see the Light of Christ as death has vanished. This is the Good News of Jesus Christ. We do not need to fear death.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)

“I have often thought that, in many ways, the spiritual life comes down simply to remembering the things that we know — and yet so often forget. As a spiritual father, it frequently seems to me that my role consists not so much in teaching others something new as in reminding them of the truths they already know, and which they need at that particular moment to bear in mind. Nor am I alone in this way of thinking…But our modern culture looks at life much differently. It teaches us to prioritize — above nearly all else — the acquisition of new information and the invention of new ideas. We are obsessed with both knowledge and novelty, and subconsciously ascribe to them an unrivaled and well-nigh supernatural ability to overcome all our problems and to assuage all our woes. The new is always better than the old, and if there is anything we cannot do it is only because we do not yet know how. Ironically, we are like the ancient gnostics who believed that salvation is to be found chiefly in knowledge; we are like the ancient Athenians who “spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing” (Acts 17:21). And in the ascendant cult of scientistic progress, there is precious little room for remembering.” (Hieromonk Gabriel)

“One who prays is a true theologian,”…[this] perfectly encapsulates the acute awareness that one cannot truly know God through book learning or the application of the intellect. Human reason fails because growth in knowledge of God is possible only through growth in holiness, and one does not acquire holiness through study but through prayer. Academic learning and study are important and beneficial in the pursuit of theological truth, but they never substitute for the spiritual life.” (Dr. Eugenia Scarvelis Constantinou)

“…there is a point at which knowledge, even when perfectly true, may not commend us to God. There is a great amount of scientific and intellectual knowledge that is true, but doesn’t help us know God or how to live a godly, loving life. This knowledge may tell us everything about the empirical world, and yet tell us nothing about the spiritual life. Some church fathers thought this “worldly” knowledge is what the Genesis story of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is about. It is a worldly knowledge that is not connected to the love of God, which is what Adam and Eve learned. Knowledge not connected to God’s love is dangerous, even deadly.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)

“…many of us would prefer to read about the spiritual life rather than live it…In the spiritual life, theory must always be practiced. We must be diligent in working at the divine commandments and remain as energetic as possible in obeying Christ.” (Robert J. Wicks, Dynamis 5/6/2018)

“Genuine life, true and real life in perfection and abundance, is found only in the Church of Christ. People who are not formally in the Church are living truly and genuinely only to the extent that they follow the law of God “written on their hearts” by the Spirit of God in creation (Rom 1.12–16), which is the same law clearly revealed and given in Christ and the Church. And those people who are formally members of the Church are living truly and genuinely only to the extent that they actually live the life of the Church. For the sad fact exists that one may be formally a member of the Church and still live according to the law of the flesh, the law of sin and death, and not of Christ. The spiritual life, therefore, consists in actually living the life of the Church.” (Fr. Thomas Hopko)


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