It is easy to forget in the midst of our day-to-day responsibilities that the purpose of our life is not less than union with God. This is what we were created for. Not in the sense of losing our own personalities or being absorbed into the essence of God – God in his essence is beyond our reach, beyond our comprehension. Rather, we are called to union with God’s energies, to participation in that same Uncreated Light that illumined Christ on Mount Tabor, Moses on Sinai, and St. Seraphim in his conversation with Motovilov. We feeble and corruptible ones are called to know and abide with the source of all strength, love, and life.
How is this possible for us weak ones, living as we are in the midst of the world? I just read a chapter by the Elder Cleopa of Romania,* in which he lists four practical, straightforward ways that the Holy Church has given us for attaining union with God:
1. Most importantly, Holy Communion of the Body and Blood of Christ. In the Holy Mystery, the spiritual reality of Communion with Christ is clothed in a material form to make it more accessible and comprehensible to us. Glory to God for His Condescension!
2. Prayer – and in particular the prayer of Jesus.
3. Fulfilling the commandments and acquiring the virtues.
4. Reading and hearing the Holy Scriptures, the Word of God.
How straightforward this is! The Church gives us everything that we need. The Holy Mystery of Communion is available to us every Sunday. The prayers of the saints teach us how to pray – we only need to read them, understanding more with the passage of time. The Holy Mystery of Confession helps us in our struggle to fulfill the commandments and acquire the virtues. The Holy Scriptures are readily available, and the Church even gives us a list of readings for each day. Moreover, the Church Services give us everything at once: the Holy Mysteries, prayer, instruction in virtue, and abundant exposure to the Word of God! Glory to God for making it so easy to progress along the path toward such a lofty goal! To ascend the mountain, we need only keep walking, one step at a time.
*The Truth of our Faith, Vol II: On the Christian Mysteries