Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Striving for Theosis

We live (fortunately or unfortunately) in a world and in a time where everyone strives to become a football player, a singer, a celebrity, famous in any way possible. Children and teenagers wish to become what they see on the television, both good and bad examples of people. However, how revolutionary is it for our time to claim that we wish to strive for theosis, for salvation…that we wish to strive to become saints, in communion with God. This idea sounds crazy and old-fashioned. However it is a diachronic reality of mankind, which was established since the beginning of our existence. Elisabeth Behr Sigel gives an interesting explanation of this issue:

‘Man is never thought of as being self-sufficient but always in an immediate relationship with God. Created in the image of God, humanity can only grow toward and be fulfilled in Him, in the radiance of the Trinitarian light. When man turns away from his prototype, he falls to the animal level and even lower . . . Mankind’s vocation is therefore to strive for the likeness of God, or to use the language of the Fathers, to strive for theosis, that is, holiness. Man, in holiness and faithfulness to his divine vocation, is called to reign over the earth (Gn 1:28-30), humanize it and submit it to the divine will of love.’[1]  
However, we see that not everyone strives for this reality, not everyone is interested in salvations (theosis) Archimandrite Sophrony (Sakharov) explains:
‘The word accidie means, etymologically, ‘lack of care’, i.e. about one’s salvation. With few exceptions, all humanity is not living in the state of accidie. People have become indifferent about our salvation. They do not seek divine life. They confine themselves to forms of life which appertain to the flesh, to everyday needs, to the passions of this world, to mundane activities. God, though, created us out of nothing, in the image of the Absolute and after His likeness. If this revelations is true, then the absence of concern for salvation is nothing else than the death of the human person.’[2]

[1] Behr-Sigel, Elisabeth, The Ministry of Women in the Church, (California, Oakwood Publications, 1991), p. 111.
[2] Sakharov, Archimandrite Sophrony, Words of Life, (Essex, Stavropegic Monastery of St John the Baptist, 2010), p. 16. 

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