How shall we be living in the era of peace, after the great Chastisement has been fulfilled? Unlike for many, if not most, of us living presently in the era of the flesh, during the era of peace we will be living thoroughly spiritualized lives – lives we cannot even begin to conceive of, right now – because the said era will, in effect, be the era of the Reign of the Father, in the intensely Eucharistic era of the Holy Spirit. But what does all this mean in plain language?
“Man is given to unite himself with the Triune God in the intimacy of his heart, in that deep union of grace which Eastern theology likes to describe with the particularly powerful term of “theosis,” “divinization”” (John Paul II, 1996).
Not much is found in Western Christianity regarding both this coming era in the history of mankind and the manner of our living in it, because the West has focused primarily on affirming our deductive knowledge of God, since the ascent of Scholasticism. However, quite a bit exists in Eastern Christianity regarding the said era, especially in the writings of the Eastern Church Fathers, because the deification of mankind (Gross, 1938/2003; Lot-Borodine, 1939, 1970) – the primary reason for our creation by our Almighty Father and our redemption by His Son – has remained a central part of their theology and anthropology. Hence, the East has focused primarily on affirming our ability to, indeed, know God directly.
“Between God and man there exists the greatest kinship” (Macarius of Egypt)
Specifically, for all those of us who make it into living in the era of peace, by the grace of God, as well as for all those of us who come afterward, we will indeed know God the Father directly rather than just deductively, because we will be transformed by the Holy Spirit, in Jesus Christ; literally worshiping the Father in Spirit and in Truth (Jn 4:23). We will all converse with our Heavenly Father as friend to Friend, child to Father, because the veil, the distance, that presently separates us will have been ripped apart. We will all hear Our Father and experience His Mighty Presence in the heart of our souls, our nous. We will experience Him Personally: intimately, gently, delicately and tenderly caressing every part of our souls, because this is precisely the kind of filial-Parental relationship that Our Father has been intensely hankering for, since the beginning of time. This is the relationship that has always been, is and remains the most profound desire of our Father’s Divine Heart: a profoundly unique relationship unparalleled in its intimacy, that will soon be experienced by each one of us, from The Heart to the heart of our souls – the real meaning of “God-within-them” (Rv 21:3) and “Thy Kingdom come” (Mt 6:10; Lk 11:2).
We will all know God, our beautiful and loving Father, with “the direct knowledge proper to the mind of a purified body, a mind that feels the effect of purification in its relation to the world. It is a direct knowledge that arises through the medium of a world that has become transparent” (Staniloae, 2000, p. 75). We will know God with a ‘seeing’ that is infinitely greater than hearing, because it will be commonplace for us to contemplate the Light sent forth from Him (Symeon the New Theologian, 1996). This is the kind of knowing that we will be granted after the Chastisement, because we will all be living in union with Our Father through our collective fiat to Him. Such is the true meaning of living in the rapidly forthcoming era of peace.
- Gross, J. (1938/2003). The divinization of the Christian according to the Greek Fathers (P. A. Onica, trans.).
- John Paul II. (1996, Aug. 11). Angelus address – Eastern theology has enriched the whole church.
- Lot-Borodine, M. (1939). L-anthropologie theocentrique de l-Orient Chretien comme base de son experience spirituelle. Irenikon, 16, 6-21.
- Lot-Borodine, M. (1970). La deification de l-homme selon la doctrine des Peres Grecs (J. Danielou, ed.).
- Staniloae, D. (2000). The experience of God (Vol. 2): The world – Creation and deification (I. Ionita & R. Barringer, trans.).
- Symeon the New Theologian. (1996). On the mystical life: Ethical discourses (Vol. 2) – On virtue and Christian life (A. Golitzin, trans.).