GOD WANTS TO ENTER OUR SOULS
ONLY IF WE CONSENT
The Elder Saint Porphyrios commenting on the Athonite vigils at Kavsokalyvia, said: the Holy Spirit came and flooded the monk’s souls with heavenly joy.” Saying this he offered us a wake up call, “Even now the Holy Spirit wants to enter our souls, like it did them, but it respects our freedom.” It does not want to violate it. It wants for us to open the door on our own, and then it will enter the soul and transfigure it.” His words reminded us of the book of Revelation, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and dine with him, and he with me.” ( Rev. 3:20)
Our good and compassionate God discreetly knocks at the door of every frail man and awaits patiently for him to open it for Him. This He does so as to render him truly fortunate. Yet man frequently wastes the freedom that God has granted to him, and remains closed in within his shut door and misery. How many of us have the good sense to put into practice the supplication, to the Holy Spirit:“Heavenly King and Comforter, Spirit of Truth, come and abide in us?” We are very foolish in not desiring what is good and best for us, and even ignoring it. How many of us , while repeatedly uttering the appeal to “come, and abide in us”, that are not barred in to ourselves with the loneliness of our own security? God respects our foolishness because that is also an expression of our freedom. One day the Elder said to me, “God respects our will.” And other day he said: “Whatever we do, do it because we want to be freely responsible for our own decisions.”
Reflecting on this, God gave us freedom because He wants us to be like Him. God is love and we must become like Him, loving even our enemies as He commands. Love is freedom and is bestowed freely on another, as we choose. It is impossible to genuinely love without freedom. If we were as slaves we would obey and do what our master commands out of fear of punishment. If we were as servants we would do the same out of desire for wages. But we who love God and are free men we do it willingly, for only a free man is capable of love.
Christ says: “If you love me keep my commandments.”
Some may ask how does this show love or Christ? It shows love because it is a free choice made because of what we believe about ourselves and of Jesus Christ. We are free and enjoy freedom at our own risk and peril or for our own benefit we choose to be at the feet of Christ the author of our lives. He alone is our Savior and Master and He alone knows what is most beneficial for us.
He is the Son of God and the Son of man, the Godman, who fulfills His own words: “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Christ’s love is sacrificial love, because He offered the His Father the highest sacrifice possible, to suffer His Passion and to be crucified on the Cross. No greater sacrifice can be approach this offering. He did this with full knowledge that He would lay down his life and take it up again, that He would destroy the authority of the devil and the domain of death, and thus set man free to love Him and hate his former captive and enemy.
He said this when He referred to Jonas being three days in the belly of the whale and then coming out again, for He spent three short days in Hades and arose on the third day, arousing the entire Orthodox world to cry out in song: “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death; and upon those in the tombs, bestowing life.”
Christ is our Head and our Master and we are His body the Church. Just as we must remain true to Christ and His teaching, so we must be subject to His Body remaining truthful and faithful to the end. After we make the firm decision to dedicate our entire lives to Christ, the hymn we just mentioned will come alive and remain in our hearts for ever, replacing all our worries and anxieties. For our deepest desire is not to die but to life for ever, as healthy eternal men and women, living in the glory of God. He will wipe away every tear and leave us with happiness that knows no bounds, with unmitigated joy, with fearlessness of dangers and death. Then we will, with fervent hope that stirs and warms up our hearts, Then we will completely love Him in whom we have placed all our hope, Jesus Christ!