Monday, February 16, 2009

A Little Spiritual Help #3 - Brushing Against God

One of the paradoxes of human existence is that there is nowhere God is not. Even though we naturally assume that He is more concerned with certain parts of our lives than with others, God is not nearly as restrictive as we are. One of the closest analogies I have come across is that God is fascinated with us - who we are and what we do. No detail of our lives is too small for His infinite interest.

We cannot brush against God without being changed. In the case of the woman who was healed when she touched Jesus surreptitiously in the crowd, the
encounter with God changed her life. So it is with us. Every meeting with God, no matter how casual or seemingly insignificant, involves both judgment and transformation.

Father Meletios Webber
Steps of Transformation
Page 147, Conciliar Press, California 2003


James the Thickheaded said...

Thanks for reminding me to go back to this book! It really is a great read.

I got it as part of inquiring into the "problem"; and while I pray that this aspect won't be needed(!!!).. and I was devastated by the seriousness and prevalence of these problems particularly among our young (but also all ages)... by contrast, I was completely and pleasantly surprised by how much of the material really is just straight up experience of God in the Orthodox Church. Wonderfully told, too. And so I kept reading.. and learned a lot. The thesis of Alcoholism as an addiction for which we have experienced something of a spiritual cure and "restoration to sanity"... and that our knowledge gained here can help us understand our addiction to the material world... now that is an insight we are less able to find elsewhere in contemporary prose.


James the Thickheaded said...

I'd add that Fr. Mel seems particularly focused on the sense of touch... of God touching man through ordinary things... and this comes out in this recount as well. I like (i.e. think it's important) this sense of the earthy physicalness of Orthodoxy... I mean... it's not just some "touchy feely mumbo jumbo" but something concrete, too.

charlene said...

Father James,
Would you explain Father Meletios' beautiful quote a bit further? I understand how every encounter with God leads to transformation, but am curious about it leading to judgement. What exactly does he mean by that?

Fr. James Early said...


By "judgment," Fr. Meletios does not mean "condemnation," as might be assumed, given the negative connotation that this word has in our current culture.

By "judgment," rather, I think he means that we come face to face with our own lack of holiness and our need for divine cleansing. I think of the experience that Isaiah had when he had his vision of God. He cried out "Woe is me, for I am undone. For I am a man of unclean lips." (Isiah 6:1ff).

Also, I think of Peter's experience in Luke 5, where he says to Jesus, "Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man." (or something similar; I don't have my Bible in front of me).

In other words, we cannot have a true encounter with God and not be changed. Does this help?

charlene said...

Thank you ,Father for the wonderful explanation. This makes perfect sense: We judge ourselves when we encounter God, because we cannot meet Him and fail to realize how undeserving we are of His love, this love that He gives us so generously.