Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Met Silouan (Muci): The Dispensation in the Holy Spirit

Arabic original here.

The Dispensation in the Holy Spirit

The dispensation that God inaugurated at Pentecost through the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples was greater than the dispensation inaugurated by the incarnate Son that was revealed to us particularly in His public preaching. Jesus began His preaching with this call: "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand" (Matthew 3:2), and concluded His dispensation on earth by remaining with His disciples for forty days "speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3). He began and closed His public preaching by inaugurating the kingdom of His Father and inviting us to it. He told us everything He heard from the Father and did in front of us everything He saw the Father do. He explained His will to us through commandments and parables, and He gave us the true life that is from Him, His life being our life.
In the dispensation that began at Pentecost, which completes the one that preceded it, the members of the body of Christ came to perform "greater" works than those that the incarnate Son performed (cf. John 14:12). Moreover, He has made a bond of kinship between us by letting us bear each other's burdens, and to offer our entire life to Christ, so that it may come to be "hidden with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:3). He has granted us understanding so that we may penetrate into the meaning of the commandments and the way to abide by them. He has showered us with divine gifts with which we trace the will of the Heavenly Father on earth and build His kingdom within us. He united us and called us to preserve our unity in the bonds of peace and love. He has ordered us to give grace freely and to be His collaborators in bringing the entire human race to knowledge of the true God and the one He sent, Jesus Christ. He taught us how to lift prayer up to God and to stand in His presence. He has asked us to give Him the old man with his suffering, weaknesses, lusts and sins so that we may receive from Him the new man, new leaven that is good for leavening the dough of the very ill humankind. 
The Church has realized that man in general is very ill and totally away from God, the source of existence, life and perfection. Thus it seems that this dispensation in the Holy Spirit is a sort of swimming against the current, because in it the believer confronts himself and confronts the evil, sin and death that have taken root in him and around him, just as he also confronts the evil one. But God desired to console us in the struggle and the effort by giving us someone to guide us on the path, to revive us when we fall, to inspire us in adversities, to teach us what to say and what to do, and to renew life within us, if we take refuge in Him with trust and humility. He has given us His Spirit, in addition to His body, so that we may be nourished from Him and nourish others with Him. Consequently, we will not be separated from Him, but rather be united with Him.
Thus, the second dispensation in the Holy Spirit acts in a similar way to the first dispensation in the incarnate Son. That is, in humility, concealment, and surpassing love. We have known the activity of the Holy Spirit in the souls of the saints in which He came to dwell, and they have given us a model for the signposts of this living kingdom that God the Father has prepared for those who believe in His dispensation in His Son Jesus and by the work of His Holy Spirit.
How beautiful is this prayer that the Church has placed on the lips of the hierarch as he blesses the faithful with the dikirion and trikirion during the Trisagion Hymn in the Divine Liturgy. In fact, he says in the first part, "O Jesus, grant Your servants swift and firm consolation when their spirits are weary. Do not depart from our minds in sorrows or from our souls in hardships, but rather always set us aright," while he says in the second part, "Come near to us, come near, O You who are in every place. As You have always been with Your apostles, so too unite Yourself with those who long for You, O merciful one, so that being united with You, we may glorify and praise Your All-Holy Spirit."
May we praise and glorify Him with our lips, our hearts and our daily life and seek Him at every moment. Nothing is sweeter than His presence within us, even though we are unworthy of Him. There is not enough time for us to thank God for the Spirit's work in us for our salvation and the salvation of the world. If only we could take advantage of time and have the ability to turn our time and our life into a factory that produces goodness, in the Spirit, for everyone who passes through our life, so that the Spirit may catch them and provide knowledge of God, whole-hearted faith in Him and service to Him, just as we serve Him and, indeed, better than we do.

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