The Spirituality of the Christian East — 20170730

Eastern Christian spirituality is indeed centered in God; in fact, its very goal is communion with God, which is, it is believed, attainable through the accomplishment of His will. We clearly see this in the life of Jesus. He truly accomplished the Father’s will by revealing to humankind how to live this earthly existence. His primary task was to model how to live as a human being and how to deal with the various challenges of life. Jesus did this in a most superb manner. He showed us how to be what God wants us to be and to do what God wants us to do. Of course this requires us to believe that life puts us in the exact place we need to be in order to accomplish the task of becoming more like Jesus. It also means that God has willed to give us the exact combination of strengths and, of course, weaknesses to grow.

In the New Testament, the first letter of St. Peter refers to this fundamental command of God. He is attributed as saying: “…as He who called you is holy, be holy yourself in all your conduct; since it is written, ’You shall be holy, for I am holy.” That human beings should be holy by sharing in the happiness of God Himself is the meaning of union with God. We all are called “to be saints by becoming “partakers of the nature of God”. This is what Jesus meant when He said in His sermon on the mount, “You must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Now we know that we truly cannot achieve, in this lifetime, the goal of being perfect as the Father, but we can, at least, be engaged in trying to become like His perfection as found in the God-Man Jesus. This is accomplished by attempting to do the will of God. And His will is that we personally transform ourselves.
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