‘The glory of God is a living person and the life of the person is the vision of God,’ St Irenaeus writes. God’s gift of life – bringing us from non-being into being – is miraculously and freely bestowed upon us with the goal and end being the participation in His eternal glory and joy. Created by God as the greatest expression of His love, we are called to freely enjoy and share in His communion and fellowship forever. As we are told in the Holy Gospel, the Kingdom of God is not a future reality or dimension but here present (Lk 17:21) within us. Our present life as human beings and images of God is truly a foretaste of the ineffable joy to come. Particularly within the life of the Church we experience the sanctity and purpose of life and the special relationship God has called us to cooperatively attain with Him. The life we have each been given, of course has its struggles and its challenges, however the sanctity, the eternal and unique value and worth, the great potential we all have as ‘temples of the Holy Spirit’ (1 Cor 6:15) call us to look towards our divine vocation as humans and to the unique source of existence: our merciful and embracing God.
Anything that devalues or disregards the sanctity of our lives, or the lives of our fellow humans, is unnatural and thus sinful. Dear friends, human life finds its ultimate fulfilment, its harmony of body and soul, in its quest for holiness and sacredness. We are born into this world not simply to eat, sleep and fulfil certain temporary desires, economic, academic or social goals. Rather, we are brought into being for precisely the same reason the entire universe was created: to reach perfection and loving communion. Nothing else is eternal. For this reason, as St Amphilochios of Patmos says, ‘the Christian is a true human being. He is courteous and polite. He doesn’t want to sadden anybody.’
Saint Amphilochios offers advice on how one can strive and move towards fulfilling our divine gift of human existence. According to the recently canonised saint (who reposed in 1970) we are to ‘take communion regularly, pray warmly, be patient’ for ‘the more a person loves God the more he loves other people. He loves them with holiness, respect and refinement, as images of God.’
Beloved friends, each of our lives, when seen through the eyes of prayer, of hope and of trust in God, is truly a beautiful gift. ‘Divine beauty is reflected in and through all the various things that the Creator has formed, but it shines out pre-eminently from God’s living icon, the human person.’ (St Basil the Great)
Have a blessed and fruitful week, always remembering both our value and our goal in Christ.