We are called by God to change

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We are called by God to change

by Fr. John Breck (from OCA website page "Life in Christ")

Food and drink were intended for nourishment and enjoyment. Passion transforms the natural acts of eating and drinking into gluttony and dissipation.

The theme of repentance is heard so often during Great Lent because it expresses the essential conviction of our Christian faith that the human person is called by God to change. This involves above all a struggle (podvig) against what the Holy Fathers term the “passions”. These include our basic inclinations as well as thoughts and feelings which drive a wedge between ourselves and God, between ourselves and other persons. The passions are not sinful in and of themselves. They are the product of “fallen” or corrupted nature, and as such they incite to sin. Here are a few examples:

Our Church, however, not only takes seriously the consequences of the Fall, she offers an antidote: God’s saving plan for healing and transformation. Applying this antidote constitutes the “program” of Great Lent. Fr. Alexander Schmemann often used to say that Lent is simply the return to the natural order of things. We begin by acknowledging our need for thoroughgoing change. Then we take significant steps to effect such a change. Here are some of them:

What is the source of this transformation? The Grace and power of the Holy Spirit.

God alone can save us; we can’t save ourselves. Nevertheless, there is an essential “synergy” or cooperation between ourselves and God. The goal is holiness. Only as we ourselves grow in it can we influence other people, even social structures and institutions.

It is holiness as divine energy or power that brings about change in ourselves and the world around us.


Adapted from a talk given by Fr. John Breck, and reprinted from the St. John the Evangelist Orthodox Church website.

 


(from OCA website page "Life in Christ")


Orthodox Church of the Mother of God. Mays Landing, NJ 08330

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