Yesterday’s Gospel reading (Matt 11:2-15) reminds us that the precondition of our salvation and eternal life in Christ is to care for our struggling neighbour, for ‘whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ The Apostle Paul however, simultaneously emphasises one is saved, not only through our own efforts, but primarily through God’s grace. (Eph 2:8)

St Maximus the Confessor (580-662) an influential Byzantine theologian and writer, describes salvation as a process of transformation in this life, leading to participation in God’s eternal kingdom. Through the incarnation of God’s Word, we, as body and soul, are called to be sanctified through His grace, ‘becoming partakers of the divine nature.’ (2 Pet 1:4) St Maximus summarises how one partakes of Christ’s salvation, offered to all of mankind, in these three stages:

1) The primary source and definition of salvation is Christ Himself, Who, through His sacrificial life, death and life-giving Resurrection, invites us to rise with Him in incorruptibility and eternity.
2) Our participation in the Liturgical and spiritual struggle of the Church is an essential component in the process of transformation and sanctification. For St Maximus, Holy Communion ‘brings everything together through the mystery performed on the holy altar,’ and through our continual struggle with our egocentric sins.
3) Divine contemplation and Theosis: Liberated from the fallen inclinations of the flesh and of the world, the human being who continuously contemplates God naturally sees all of creation as it really is, in a transformed state, endlessly seeing God, His work, and thus His goodness, in everything and everyone.

Thus salvation is understood as a process of transformation, a synergy between God and man, faith and works.

Η χθεσινή Ευαγγελική περικοπή τονίζει ότι η προϋπόθεση της σωτηρίας είναι η θυσιαστική αγάπη προς τον πάσχοντα συνάνθρωπό μας, διότι ‘ἐφ’ ὅσον ἐποιήσατε ἑνὶ τούτων τῶν ἀδελφῶν μου τῶν ἐλαχίστων, ἐμοὶ ἐποιήσατε.’ Ταυτόχρονα, κατά τον Απόστολο Παύλο, ‘τῇ γὰρ χάριτί ἐστε σεσωσμένοι διὰ τῆς πίστεως· καὶ τοῦτο οὐκ ἐξ ὑμῶν, Θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον.’ Δηλαδή η σωτηρία του ανθρώπου είναι πρωτίστως δώρο Θεού και αποτέλεσμα της χάριτός Του. Ο Άγιος Μάξιμος ο Ομολογητής περιγράφει την σωτηρία ως μία διαδικασία μεταμορφώσεως μία συνεργία Θεού και ανθρώπου, μέσα από την συμμετοχή στην λειτουργική και ασκητική ζωή της Εκκλησίας. Η συμμετοχή αυτή έχει ως αποτέλεσμα μια νέα και μεταμορφωμένη προοπτική της ζωής, βλέποντας τους πάντες και τα πάντα εν Χριστώ.