Thursday, June 8, 2023

Fr Elias (Morcos): Come and Abide in Us

 Arabic original here.

Come and Abide in Us

The purpose of Pentecost is in the acquisition of the Holy Spirit, as is known. It is the desired end, perfection, the purpose of everything... It is the importance of God's "presence" for us in every sense of the word, in that personal, existential bond between Him and us, in Him and in us, in love and unity, we strive for Him and we await Him as a gift... without which, our life truly has no final, eternal meaning.

"Eternal life is for them to know You, who alone are the true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent."

The knowledge that is meant here is complete, perfect knowledge in the scriptural sense. That is, intimate knowledge, union and marriage. It is a mystery whose occurrence we await and which, at the same time, we venerate. Consequently, it is something extremely simple: it is the presence of the Beloved and knowledge of him, knowledge that moves from the dry, outward, social level to the personal level, to the level of being and the heart... the openness of perfect love...

"Come and abide in us"

The beginning of everything is prayer... but it is the neglected aspect in our life. Our religion is a religion of the inner heart, a religion of the Spirit, a religion of life in God: "You are in Me and I in you."

"Come and abide in us"

"It is not I who live, but Christ lives in me."

"If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me."

"If anyone keeps my words, We will come to him and make Our abode with him."

Hence the Jesus Prayer, which is like breathing, which is like partaking, partaking in the name of Jesus. If not, do we live with God? With whom do we live?

 Our God, love, is the Trinity... That is, He is completely mutually-exchanged love. Each of the three hypostases exists completely in the others as existential love and therefore God the Trinity is one God.

We say at the Divine Liturgy: "Let us love one another that with one mind and one heart we may confess: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Trinity consubstantial and undivided." That is, the only way to confess the one God, the Trinity, is for us to love one another. We confess Him so that we may be in harmony with Him and love each other, and so that we may be in the image according to which He created us. When we truly love with all our being, we experience the life of the Holy Trinity, if one can say so. When a young man loves a young woman with all his being, he loves God, all humankind and the entire universe.

The commandments all flow, in their result, into the channel of love. The purpose of "judge not" is for you not to be negative, not to distance yourselves from each other, thus distancing yourselves from love. So too with "Thou shalt not steal," "Thou shalt not lie" and "Thou shalt not commit adultery."

Sins are sins and passions are passions because they annihilate love and so distance us from God. Keeping the commandments without love is dull, insipid, meaningless. It is in vain. Therefore existential love is connected to purity and limpidity: "He who loves his brother abides in the light" (1 John 2:10). Turbid love is not true love.

The whole of the Christian life takes place, or should take place, under the banner of renewal: for you are "those who have followed me, at the renewal of all things." The new man is one who is constantly renewed in his striving in the Lord and toward the Lord, whose life has no end. Let everything have a new face, for the Lord is in it.

Love is unceasing motion... love must be renewed at every moment.

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