Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Little Spiritual Help #9: Towards Holiness

Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom) of Sourozh (+2003), outstanding Orthodox bishop and author

The Inaccessible One has become accessible, the transcendent God has taken flesh and dwelt among us. The holiness which surpassed every human notion and was a separation reveals itself to be otherwise: the very holiness of God can become infinitely close without becoming any the less mysterious; it becomes accessible without our being able to possess it; it lays hold of us without destroying us. In this perspective we can understand the words of St Peter in his General Epistle, that we are called to become partakers of divine nature...

All holiness is God's holiness in us:

It is holiness that is participation and, in certain way, more than participation, because we participate in what we receive from God, we become a revelation of that which transcends us. Being a limited light, we reveal the Light. But we should also remember that in this life in which we are striving towards holiness, our spirituality should be defined in very objective and precise terms.

When we read books on spirituality or engage in studying the subject, we see that spirituality, explicitly or implicitly, is repeatedly defined as an attitude, a state of soul, an inner condition, a type of interiority, and so on.

In reality, if you look for the ultimate definition and try to discover the inner core of spirituality, you find that spirituality does not consist of the states of soul that are familiar to us, but that it is the presence and action of the Holy Spirit in us, by us, and through us in the world.

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh, God and Man (Hodder and Stoughton, 1974)


charlene said...

Father James,
Today's post is a bit over this newbe's head. Can you tell me if I am at leadt getting it on a surface level? I think: When man seeks the the spiritual or the holy, he is mistaken if he thinks he needs to achieve a state of being or an attitude. Rather, it is found in allowing ourselves to become one with the Holy Spirit. We are one yet we are not one: Weexperience the spiritual and the holy, yet we do not posess it.
We do not become holy or spiritual ourselves, but what we feel (and others sense) is the Holy Spirit being revealed through us. The holiness always remains the attribute of God, and not of man. Am I reading too much in, and/or leaving too much out?

Fr. James Early said...


I believe that you have correctly understood the post. It certainly is pretty deep!