Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Little Spiritual Help #6: The Spiritual Journey

Archimandrite Meletios Webber,
Manton, California

Theosis, the transformation of the individual person into the closest possible union with God, is likely to occur towards the final stages of the spiritual journey. Repentance, on the other hand, is not only the initial stage of the spiritual journey, but also the path itself. It is the development of a way of repentance that most of us have the most to learn, and about which the Church has most to say. Repentance is a constant theme in the services of the church, in Holy Scripture, and in the teachings and discussions of the patristic authors. It is the first word of the Forerunner's message, and the last earthly act of the thief hanging on the cross beside the Savior. Repentance is the summary of prayer and sacrament, the act in which all human beings are beginners, all are equal.

Since everything we have and everything we are is a gift from God, repentance is one of the few genuine offerings that a person can make. Each person is free to make an offering of repentance to God, in return He agrees to participate in the transformation of that person.

It hardly needs to be said that in repentance it is the aim to change oneself, not to change the rest of the world or to change the mind of God... It is not possible to repent on behalf of another person. Naturally, this makes the process [of repentance] very different from the expected behavior of individuals or groups of individuals (up to and including entire nations) that tend to set about solving problems by changing the rest of the world first...It is God, not the individual, who is in charge. It is the individual, not God, who needs to change.

Archimandrite Meletios Webber
Steps of Transformation, pages 93-94,
Conciliar Press, Ben Lomond, California

1 comment:

James the Thickheaded said...

Another good egg from the Fr. Mel. Thanks! You're really doin' all my underlining for me!