My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
EXPERIENCE OF GOD AND COMMUNION WITH GOD
You keep speaking about the experience of God and communion with God. Do you really believe that these things are possible for men?
If communion with God is not possible, then there is no Christian Faith and certainly no Orthodoxy.
The entire faith of the Church is built on the fact that "God is the Lord and has revealed Himself unto us." This biblical line is solemnly sung at every Orthros (Matins) or Morning Service in the Orthodox Church.
God has revealed Himself ! He has not merely told some things about Himself, or communicated some data about His Divine existence and purposes. He has shown forth Himself and has given Himself to men for Divine Communion.
According to Orthodox Christianity, there is no other meaning to the life of man except In communion with God. God is the end of all longing, the fulfillment of all desires, the source and the goal of man's very humanity made in god's divine image and likeness.
Through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit, man comes to living communion with God the Father Himself. There is no other meaning and purpose to the Church and to life itself.
Man and all creation with him must come to be divine by sharing the being and life and action of God Himself. All of the attributes of Divinity--as one Saint put it--must become ours; eternal life, truth, goodness, holiness, purity, joy...all perfections summed up in the greatest which is Agape (Love). For God is Love! This is the meaning of life, and it is certainly possible for men to attain it. At least, once more, according to the Orthodox Christian Faith.
You talk about the Church as unity in the Truth and Love of God. What do you mean by this?
We Orthodox Christians believe that the life of the Church is life in communion with God Himself, in the Truth and Love of Christ, by the Holy Spirit.
We believe that Christ is the Son of God. We believe that He reveals the Truth about God and man. We believe that we can know this Truth by the Holy Spirit, that He gives to us.
The greatest Truth shown to us by Christ is that God is Agape (Love), and that the only true way of living is by following Christ Who called Himself, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Christ gave the great Commandment and the great example of perfect love. Thus the greatest Truth is agape (love). This is our conclusion. And life in this truth which is love, is the life of faith, the life of the Orthodox Church.
Of course there are deviations and betrayals and sins all around. Clergy and laymen alike are guilty. But the Church itself, despite the sins of its members, is still the union with the Truth and Love of God given to men in Jesus Christ, made present and accessible in the Holy Spirit, Who lives in those who believe. (Source: Orthodox Church in America)
"To know our purpose, we must be enlightened and taught by God, and the mind that is not prepared properly will never understand God, or His revelation to the human heart. That is why, by the way, after difficult sayings, our Lord would say "He that has ears to hear, let him hear". We all have ears, but not all of us hear."
Saint Matthew 22:37-40 "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. (38) This is the first and great commandment. (39) And the second is like unto it, 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. (40) On these two commandments hang all the laws and the prophets."
Saint Mark 12:29-31 "And Jesus answered him, 'The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: (30) And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all they mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. (31) And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater that these."
Saint Luke 10:25-28 "And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? (26) He said unto him, What is written in the law? How readest thou? (27) And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all they mind, and thy neighbor as thyself. (28) And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live."
The Lord is referring to:
Deuteronomy 6:4-7: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: (5) and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. (6) And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: (7) And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."
Saint John 10:10-18. "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father..." (26-28) "...But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hands."
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!" - Saint John Chrysostomos
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God