Phases of Spiritual Life

The torpor of mankind

They would not grasp the love of the truth which could have saved them. This is the reason why God is sending a power to delude them and make them believe what is untrue. To condemn all who refused to believe in the truth and chose wickedness instead (2 Thes 2:10-12).

The world remains asleep, profoundly mired in its deceptions, despite the increasing warnings given by God to rouse humankind. It does not want to hear and it does not want to see. Above all, it does not want to admit, because it does not want to change. Such is the reality of our present world. Despite all that has occurred, is occurring, and will continue to occur with ever-growing frequency, the world remains profoundly lethargic and seemingly content in its torpor.

How long do you expect this state of affairs to last, before retribution is meted out by the Divine Justice? Man deliberately rejecting the Father, His Son, and Their Holy Spirit to continue rebuilding the tower of Babel, in a renewed attempt to take for himself the power of God and become god without the need for God? Such an attempt has been repeatedly made both throughout history and before history itself began. But it has always failed, despite those who believed otherwise, including those whose natures were higher than our own and who believed they knew better than God.

What makes you think, therefore, O man, that you are going to succeed in your endeavor this time around? Or do you intend to continue to attempt to rewrite history? Have you become so full of yourself, so blinded, that it has become impossible for you to comprehend even the most basic facts? The love and mercy of God the Almighty Father are infinite; that is true. But it is equally true of His Righteousness and Justice. How long, therefore, do you think you can provoke God with deliberate and, at times, overtly malicious intent without sorrow for what you keep on doing, without bringing down upon yourself and on others consequences for what is truly in your heart?

O man, how you have allowed yourself to be deceived! To what extent have you bought into the lie! How blind you have become, you who were once clothed with the light of splendor – the Divine Light; bought for you through the pain of the Cross, precisely so that you could be robed once again with the light that was lost at the beginning of time! How can you have let your senses become so thoroughly appropriated by the Evil One that you now think of darkness as light, and of true light as darkness? By what contortions of reason disjointed from the One, True Faith – reified reason – can you ever hope to obtain light from darkness, given that darkness can never give out true light, since only the Light and Life Himself can create and provide that which you seek without end?

It is time – The relationship between the Father and the child

And everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children or land for the sake of My Name will be repaid a hundred times over, and also inherit eternal life (Mt 19:29).

Give Him everything. It is time. Give Him everything without the slightest hesitation: everything you are and everything you are not; everything you have and everything you have not, down to the slightest thing. The Almighty and incomparable Father will supply and repay you like none other. He will repay you with a joy beyond description and He will give you His very own Self.

Yes, the Father will give you Himself and everything that is His in the entire universe, including His only-begotten Son in like (but not identical) manner to how He had given Him to the Virgin Mary – the coming of the Kingdom. Give yourself to the Heavenly Father, therefore, no matter who you are; no matter where you are. Give yourself to Him without fear, from the bottom of your heart. You can never lose, you can only gain.

Purification and intimacy with the Father

As darkness increases all around the world in our times, we should recall that we are presently in the period of the purification of the earth. However, after purification comes illumination and deification. Intimacy with God our Father, in the very heart of our souls, will ensue after the purification and illumination, not just for the few but for the many – for all those who will accept His mercy during the illumination of consciences and return to Him. It will be an intimacy unknown since the fall of Adam except by the comparative few and it will be accepted and lived fully by the many. It is true that, presently, we can only see and feel the increasing darkness around us. However, what is coming soon – very soon – is the era of the reign of the Divine Heart of the Father; the era of peace, the era of the Kingdom of the Divine Will on earth.

On deification – 6

Deification and theology

Theology is theoria – the vision of God (Gregory Palamas).

All truly dogmatic work has a basis in mystical experience . . . all mystical work is connected to the realm of dogma, in that it expresses and exposes the content of the experiences of divine things (Lossky, 1967/1974).

To end, deification turns man into a theologian not because he has studied theology academically and intellectually, but because he attains theoria. At this stage of the spiritual life, man

communes with the angelic powers…approaches the uncreated Light and the depths of God are revealed to him through the Spirit. This man knows many things which are hidden from others, including mysteries that exist in Holy Scripture (N. Stithatos in Vlachos, 2010).

On deification – 5

Deification and Theosis

Suddenly the Almighty reveals Himself in boundless humility. The vision floods our entire being and instinctively we bow in adoration…Prayer to this God of love and humility rises from the depths of our being…Brought from nothingness into life, man is drawn by His Creator into the fullness of divine life (Arch. Sophrony, 1997).

Only those found worthy of seeing the uncreated Light are able to gain true knowledge of God (Vlachos, 2010).

When deification occurs, it is not solely the soul which takes part in theoria but also the body, for man sees the divine light and hears the voice of God after both his soul and the physical senses have been transformed by divine grace (Vlachos, 2010). Theoria is defined as seeing the glory of God through union with Him and deification.  (more…)

On deification – 4

Illumination and Deification

He who enjoys illumination is greater and receives more that he who only tastes, for he has within himself the assurance of his visions (Maximus the Confessor, Hom. 7,5-6, PG 34, col.527).

The Divine One purifies the man who desires Him: by this purification, He creates men of divine character, conversing as with friends with those who have attained this state; and uniting Himself as God with gods, and making Himself known to them perhaps to the same extent that He knows those who are known to Him (Gregory of Nazianzus, Hom, XLV.3, PG XXXVI, 625C-628A).

Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God (Mt 5:8).

Union with God became discontinuous after the fall because man became imperfect. Therefore, man can become deified and attain theoria – start seeing God – only insofar as his nous has first been healed by the trials of purification and reopened by the illumination which occurs through baptism in the Holy Spirit (Vlachos, 2005, 2010). The phrase ‘baptism in the Spirit’ as used herewith refers to it as historically understood throughout Christian tradition (e.g., Kontzevich, 1989).  (more…)

On deification – 3

Deification versus Salvation

He was made man that we might become god (Athanasius of Alexandria, De Inc, 54.3). 

Through Christ, the Word made flesh, man has access to the Father in the Holy Spirit and comes to share in the divine nature (Paul VI, 1965).

Many, especially in Western Christianity, tend to commingle the terms deification and salvation as though they have the same meaning, but this manifests poor understanding of the two terms as originally meant by the Fathers of the Church. In fact, when the language and context of deification and theosis are replaced with the language and context of salvation, Patristic theology becomes, in effect, displaced by Reformation language (Kharlamov, 2010), with the consequent loss of the original meanings. Salvation is part of deification, but

(more…)

On deification – 2

Is it not written in your Law: I said, you are gods? (Jn 10:34).

He has given us most great and precious promises: that by these you may be made partakers of the divine nature (2 P 1:4).

Two kinds of deification exist. The first kind refers to the

elevation of man to the highest level of his natural powers, or to the full realization of man…[when] the divine power of grace is active in him…[The second kind refers to the] progress which man makes beyond the limits of his natural powers, beyond the boundaries of his nature, to the divine and supernatural level (D. Staniloae, 2002, p. 363).

For man to pass from the first kind of deification which is well-known, to the second (more…)

On deification – 1

What is deification?

Deification is the attaining of likeness to God and union with Him so far as is possible (Dionysus the Aeropagite, EH 1.3, PG 3.376a).

God, you see, wants to make you a god; not by nature, of course, like the One whom He begot but by His gift and by adoption (Augustine of Hippo, Serm. 166.4).

Deification can be defined as “God’s perfect and full penetration of man” (Staniloae, 2002, p. 362). The deification or divinization of man is not “an identification with God; it is only an assimilation, a very eminent restoration of the original divine likeness…[whereby one] participates by grace in the perfections that God possesses by nature . . . (more…)

God the Father icon in Approaching the Divine – A Primer for Iconography

APPROACHING THE DIVINE FRONT COVERThe diptych ecumenical icon of the Divine Heart of God the Father Encompassing All Hearts has just been featured in the newly released book Approaching the Divine – A Primer for Iconography by the world-renowned iconographer and Villanova University professor of art, Fr. Richard G. Cannuli, O.S.A. (Hope & Life Press, 2014). The icon is featured in the section Icons of God the Father. The icon had been written by Fr. Cannuli based upon the original pencil drawing of the Divine HeartApproaching the Divine is available in hardback, paperback and ebook editions.

On God the Father’s Divine Heart – 11

“Everything has been entrusted to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, just as no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (Mt 11:27).

On God the Father’s Divine Heart – 10

“The great mystical tradition of the Church of both East and West has much to say in this regard. It shows how prayer can progress, as a genuine dialogue of love, to the point rendering the person wholly possessed by the divine Beloved, vibrating at the Spirit’s touch, resting filially within the Father’s Heart” – Saint John Paul II.