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What is our ultimate Christian objective? How to live a genuine Christian life? by Fr.Gabriel Wissa

June 3, 2020

What is our ultimate Christian objective, How to live a genuine Christian life, holy trinity, trinity, love, unity, unity in diversity, diversity, trinitarian life, prayer, gods will, god’s will 

 

What is our ultimate Christian objective? Is it heaven? But what is heaven? Is it spending time in prayer? Or is it good deeds? Not really. Our ultimate objective is much greaterUnderstanding it will transform the life of any serious Christian. 

 

No, prayer is not our objective, neither is partaking of the Eucharist nor reading the Bible. These are all necessary means to something much greater! St. John the Beloved summarizes our ultimate purpose beautifully. He says the following in reference to Christ:That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life-… that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. As an Apostle and Bishop in the first century Church, He rightfully claims that the Church has a fellowship with the Holy Trinity—the Fatherthe Son, and of course, the Holy SpiritOur ultimate objective; therefore, is to share in this loving union with the Trinity for eternity! And this union is partially achieved, here, on earth, through the Church—the Body of Christ. But who is worthy to have such a fellowship with the Holy Trinity Noone. It is a gift from God. It is Grace. However, within that Grace, each one of us has a role to play to be able to enjoy this fellowship. Many are called but few are chosen. Orthodox theology from the first centuries highlighted the need for being like God. The need to be recreated or healed. Similarly to a group of like-minded friends who enjoy each other’s company, a Christian enjoys fellowship with God when he or she is living as God is. In other words, imitating our Creator, being like Him, grants us access to Him. We become His family. It is for this reason that God gave us these specific commandments. Meaning: God is truth, so don’t lie. God is Pure so be pure, God is love so you also forgive, etc. By following these commandments, we are freed from the bondage of sin and remain in union and in fellowship with the One Trinitarian God.   

 

Now, there are 3 main Trinitarian characteristics that are essential for us to grasp to be able to live like God and; therefore, have this fellowship with Him. The first is associated with the 3 Trinitarian Persons. As you already know, the Trinitarian God consists of three Persons that share one Divine essence. St. Cyril says:  the Holy Trinity opens out, as it were, into three distinct subsistences, or separate Persons, it is as though it contracts into the one nature of Deity.’ So, our one God consists of  3 PersonsAlthough, in our contemporary language, the words person and individual are synonymousit is not the case in theology. Theologically speaking a person and an individual are opposites. An individual is someone that lives for himself or herself. This individual, in the full sense of the word, is usually characterized by pride, egotism, selfishness, etc. Such an individual cares about himself and usually lives a life of consumption—not of charityHe is completely independent of others, in the bad sense of the word. He is not committed to anyone and could easily cut people from his life when relationships turn sour. You get the idea. A person has the opposite attitude, he cares about others, wants to serve them, is committed to them. He doesn’t live for his own, but for the benefit of all. He holds the wellbeing of others above, or at the same level, as his own wellbeing. In other words, a person is able to love others—sacrificing himself for others. That is why St. John the Beloved tells us in his first epistle: “If someone says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” It is impossible to love God, if we don’t love our fellow humansIn other words, we cannot live our lives, here on earth, as individuals and still somehow hope to share in the Divine Love between the Trinitarian Persons—that is not possible. Such an individual cannot share in a love that he has not known or practiced throughout his life. Therefore, we have to learn to be united in love with all humans. It is a must for us to forgive, to reconcile, to give priority to others over ourselves. No wonder Christ asks us to love our enemies. We ought to be united in love as the Trinitarian God is united in love. Speaking about this Trinitarian love, Bishop Kallistos Ware says the following: “A genuine confession of faith in the Triune God can be made only by those who, after the likeness of the Trinity, show love mutually towards each other. There is an integral connection between our love for one another and our faith in the Trinity: the first is a precondition for the second, and in its turn the second gives full strength and meaning to the first. So far from being pushed into the corner and treated as a piece of abstruse theologizing of interest only to specialists, the doctrine of the Trinity ought to have upon our daily life an effect that is nothing less than revolutionary. Made after the image of God the Trinity, human beings are called to reproduce on earth the mystery of mutual love that the Trinity lives in heaven.” Theology is not theory. It is life! It is aiming to live like God. Living in a loving community and this love is reflected in our marriages, families, friendshipscommunities, societies, etc. 

 

There are a couple of crucial additional theological points that will further teach us on how to achieve this unity. The first one is that every Person within the Trinity has His own will. The definition of a person implies that he has a mind; and therefore is intelligent and, consequently, this person has a will to think and make decisions. That is no different with the Persons of the Holy Trinity. That is why in the gospel according to St. John, he quotes Christ when He says: “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” I can of Myself do nothing’ means that the Son is not independent from the Father. In other words, He and the Father are in agreement. But then He says ‘I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.’ So the Father has a will and the Son has His own will. Yet, they both agree togetherAlthough each Person has His own Will, the Wills of the Trinitarian Persons are always one because each of these 3 Persons is omniscient, or all-knowing, is above time, and is everywhere. In addition, between them exists an incredible and unconceivable love. It is therefore impossible for their wills to differ.  

 

 

The third point is unitin diversity. In other words, there is a diversity between the different Trinitarian Persons. The Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the Spirit, etc. They are different. The Father Begets, the Son is Begotten. The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father. However, along with this diversity, there is always unity between them. The Trinity is unbreakable—undividable. Notice, therefore, that diversity is not synonymous with division. Diversity is good. Division is not. And unity is not uniformity. The Persons are not uniform. They are not identicalyet, they are united. So what can we learn from this? As a humanity that is created in the image of the Trinitarian God, we understand that each one of us is created with a certain personality that is deeply rooted in his or her soul. That personality has a will. This will is good. It should not be cancelled. God does not ask us to cancel or annul our Person. That is unchristian. Christianity is not about annihilating ourselves. Christianity is about God recreating us, fulfilling us to become true human beings in the full sense of the word. So it is commendable to have opinions, and these opinions should be communicated with love and geared toward truth. Therefore, when we all gather with our different opinions, in humility and love, in God, we complement each other. As a humanity, wought to be diverse; yet, united. We mirror the One Trinitarian God. We all have various opinions, priorities, talents! Let us always embrace them while emptying ourselves from our pride, imitating the Only-Begotten Son, who emptied Himself for our sakes as St. Paul mentions in Philippians 2. Let us always have the mind of Christ and live like God lives! 

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