Understanding Our Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Faith — 20150222

What is important to understand about our Church, I believe, is that our faith is brought to maturity through our full and intelligent involvement in the liturgical life of our Church. The preparation for Easter, the Great Fast, is but a part of the process that we call Theosis since it is meant to help us change our hearts and minds, bringing them ever more closely into concert with the mind and heart of Jesus. So the ascetical practices we voluntarily engage in during the Great Fast are meant to help us fulfill the necessary conditions for the divinizing process to be real. Maximus the Confessor states that the essential conditions for fulfilling the divinizing process are our willing human cooperation with the magnanimous divine initiative. St. Maximus unceasingly glorifies divine love express through grace, which out of human beings makes us gods…. Nothing is more truly Godlike than divine love, nothing more mysterious, nothing more apt to raise up human beings to deification. The greatest testament to the love of God for humankind is the incarnation, whereby the Creator of nature Himself clothed Himself with our nature and, without change, uniting it hypostatically to Himself, in order to gather it to     Himself, so that, gathered to Himself, our nature may no longer have any difference from Him in its inclination. In this way He clearly established the all-glorious way of love, which is truly divine and deifying and leads to God.

It is essential to think of our efforts during the Great Fast as labors to make real our cooperation with God in this process of becoming truly one of His children (Theosis). These efforts help us to recognize that we are made in His image and likeness.

Once we see that the efforts of the Great Fast are truly efforts that are focused on our spiritual growth, our attitude then changes about Lent. Its primary purpose is to open our hearts and minds so that when we celebrate the life, death and resurrection of Jesus at the end of this period, we may have a whole new appreciation of why we yearly celebrate these events. They     become new and more powerful opportunities for us to experience God in our lives. The way we celebrate them in our Church, namely as present events in our lives, begins to make more sense. The events we will celebrate are about human life as God reveals it to be.

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