A message given by Father Stevan March 24, 2019
I asked God what he wanted to say to you today and got an answer. I didn’t hear a voice but received more like a conviction that what seemed to be my own thought was in fact, His response. What I heard was, “Tell them I am here.” It fits very well with St. Gregory whom we commemorate today.
There is much to St. Gregory’s story – the historic circumstances that prevailed in the Mediterranean region around 1300, the specific factors that led St. Gregory to speak out, the main points at issue in the contention between him and Barlaam, the significance for the church of his views prevailing, the reasons they are almost unknown in the west, etc. But I thought the phrase I heard sums it all up admirably, “Tell them I’m here.” This is what St. Gregory did.
How did he do that? I will highlight one part of his teaching. St. Gregory drew out the distinction between the essence of God, which in unknowable – and His energies in and through which He reveals himself and in and through which we can know Him and experience the uncreated light of heaven.
The church has agreed that it is possible for us created human beings to experience uncreated light – not imaginary or psychic light or energy – but the actual light of Christ. For example, as recorded in the conversation of St. Seraphim of Sarov with Motovilov, but usually experienced as a result of extended prayer, reaching deeply into the heart.
The adversary of course, tries to block this but, of course he can’t block God from acting. And, in fact, he can’t even see Him or comprehend the idea of sacrificial love. The devil is blind to the incarnation into the world and into us.
For example, Christ came as a babe into very humble circumstances. The birth was revealed to certain people who were receptive of the message – by angels, by simple shepherds, by a star to learned kings, and by baptism and the Holy Spirit to you and me. When Christ came the kings and shepherds found Him. Herod could not, even after being informed of the location of His birth. Herod felt threatened and being blind, slew a large number in hopes of catching the one he couldn’t see or recognize.
The crucifixion, death, and resurrection are similarly incomprehensible to the devil. Similarly, he is blind to Christ in us. I believe this is why nearly everyone, no matter what their circumstances, has a sense of freedom built in – it is our birthright.
No matter how tight the surveillance gets, this will always remain. There will always be something for us to choose or to turn away from. In other words, God in His energies is continuously revealing Himself. He is continuously saying to each of us, “I am here.”
The darkness we accept makes us blind to this reality much of the time, but everyone has at least one opening to the uncreated light in their life. Of this, I am convinced. And some come to recognize that the opening can be made continuous.
How is this possible? God did not create us and walk away. He is close, more than close. He is in us and we live and move and have our being in him (Acts 17:28).
We are part of this incarnating of Christ. He continues to enter the world by being in us and by working through us.
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