Understanding Our Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church — 20151129

St. Sophia’s Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church in Kiev, Ukraine

St. Sophia’s Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church in Kiev, Ukraine

I have been sharing ideas about how our Eastern Christianity differs from Western Christianity. This is true of Eastern Catholicism and Western Catholicism. One is not right and the other wrong. They are both equally true, albeit, different in a number of ways.

Eastern Christianity sees our Faith as relational, personal and experiential. Christianity is chiefly a relationship with the Persons of God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), with and among the people of God (brothers and sisters in Christ); together this communion is the Church. No Creed or set of doctrines, no matter how comprehensive, can ever fully explain the life in Christ. The faith is   revealed only when one is in union with Christ and His brethren, not by naked intellect alone. Doctrine can be a “symbol” which points to Him Who is the Way, but it is not the way; it is a “vessel”, but it is not the Water which that vessel contains.

To the Eastern Christian, theology is a means toward communion with God and others, never the end. Theology, whose essence lies in the search for “words appropriate to God,” fulfills its mission not with the help of definitions, not through “words about words,” but words that bring life and love.

Faith is not a logical certainty but a relationship. It is to know God not as a theory or an abstract principle, but as a person. To know a person is far more than to know facts about that person. To know a person is essentially to love him or her; there can be no true awareness of other persons without mutual love.

This is one of the reasons why our Church strongly stresses the anamentic character of our worship (a word my readers should be acquainted from my article on the Liturgy). Relationships exist in the present moment. Like all human relationships, our relationship with God must be in the present moment. Our past relationship with God no longer exists. Our future relationship with God is not real. The only truly real relationship we can have with God is in the present moment.

Think about it! At the very moment you are reading this you must ask: Do I have a relationship with God? Neither the past or the future are important.

Do you know God right now as real? Can you sense His presence in your life right now? These are the important questions that we must ask ourselves and are the questions that our Church is constantly directing to ask.

For example, in our Liturgy the priest turns and says: Peace be with all! This is not something in the past but something real in the present moment.

Comments are closed.