Thursday, June 27, 2019

Met Silouan (Muci): Holiness

Arabic original here.

The believer's holiness is the fruit, expression and reflection of the incarnation of the Son of God. He became like us so that we may become like Him. Taking inspiration from His example, as well as from the model of the saints, whose synaxis we commemorate on the Sunday of All the Saints, we can get a realistic image of holiness. Here is some of what holiness means with regard to ethical behavior in its various forms:
That you hear and listen. This means that you empty yourself so that you may be ready to listen to the other. That you take him seriously. That you respect and honor him according to his worth, that is, to the degree that Christ honors him. In the same context, it means that you learn to listen to God who speaks to us through various means in order to reveal to us His will and His love.
That you speak such that your words become a reflection of your building up the edifice that God desires to be His dwelling-place, an edifice not made by hands, whereas the human person is a repository and vessel for the Holy Spirit. That when you address the other, you feel that you are addressing God on his behalf or addressing them on God’s behalf, so you place bonds of love and God's will as the framework within which your desires and your will move. Prayer and addressing others has a single final purpose, which is to sanctify souls, to strengthen harmony and to persist in faith in the incarnate Son and the Father who sent Him.
That you work so as to assume part of the responsibility for the site of the service or commitment that you have taken upon yourself or that events or circumstances have imposed on you, such that you strive for your work to be compatible with God's will and an expression of love for God and your neighbor.
That you behave and act such that your words and deeds are a translation of your faith, without separation between word and deed. That is, without hypocrisy. Believing in Christ means that I believe in Christ the chaste, in Christ the servant, in Christ the humble, etc. This is what calls me to practice chastity, to serve and to be humble as the Lord has given us a model in Himself.
That you love such that you give yourself, so you weep with those who are weeping and rejoice with those who are rejoicing, and you give yourself to God and to your neighbor according to the divine commandment. This love is accompanied by suffering because you are not perfect and neither are others, because you are weak and selfish and do not realize God's will. The goal of holiness is striving for love.
These elements crystalize one's spirit according to God's Spirit, which touches us and through us touches all existence, in order to sanctify it, guide it and lead it to wellsprings of life. This Spirit listens to the groaning of all existent things: rational, living and inanimate. He is the one who speaks and grants wisdom, understanding and discernment. He is the one who does the Father's will among humankind, guides them to what Christ commanded and leads humanity to the day when the Son will come again in the glory of His Father. He is the one who consoles the believer in the labor pains that strike when giving birth to the new man within him and giving birth to the signposts of the kingdom among us, where there is justice, love, peace and meekness. It is the Spirit of God that we emulate every day of our life. When He settles within us, we can palpably feel God's holiness in everything.
Is holiness possible today? Yes, if we commit to learning humility and meekness, as Jesus asked us to do: "Learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly of heart and you will find rest for your souls" (Matthew 11:29). Let us not be afraid to seek this rest that comes by bearing the cross of commitment. That is, struggle, toil, self-restraint and setting forth at every moment, even from rock bottom, for the Lord repays everyone with divine justice and mercy.

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