Lord’s of our Own Existence
(Inspired by a reading of Jean Pierre De Caussade’s The Sacrament of the Present Moment)
Part 2 of 3
It is always possible, indeed it has already happened, that we build a fence around that sacred moment and confine it to the liturgy itself. Outside the service, everything returns to “normal and ordinary,” and the Orthodox become as secular as every Christian around them. This is a denial of the faith.
God is “everywhere present and filling all things,” thus there is no normal and ordinary,” no “secular.” Everything is changed. There is no eating of bread that is not a communion with nor is there any encounter with a tree that is not an encounter with the hard wood of the cross, the “weapon of peace.”
In Jeremiah 23:23-24 we read:
Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him, saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth, saith the LORD.
We do not have a “neutral zone” where we live apart from God. Instead, we have zones of ignorance, where believing Christians live as unbelievers, awaiting their next attendance at a “God permitted” zone.
No, the truth is that God has united Himself not only to humanity in the incarnation, but to matter itself. Man is the “microcosm” according to the Fathers, a “little cosmos” in himself. This is most fully and completely true in Christ, who has truly summed up the cosmos within Himself. Thus we look forward to the redemption and resurrection of the whole created order and not just man (Rm. 8).
Thus we are never separated from God who is freely with us, but also giving Himself to us in everything around us. This is no profession of pantheism. God has not become everything else. But, everything else holds the possibility of encounter with God as surely as the holy water withing the Church or every sacrament He has given us, “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.”
“No” to secularism; “No” to religion as a human institution; and “Yes” to the Kingdom of God. I am saying nothing different.
It is the simple openness of ourselves to others and the truth of their existence, and the true existence of all things as revealed to Christ. Only the pure in heart shall see God (Matthew 5:8) and it is also true that only the pure in heart see anything as it truly is.
So, this brings us to the “sacrament of the present moment.” Everything, everyone, every place, filled with God, becomes a moment of communion and theophany. Thus we pray for the whole world, and finally know the fullness for which God is preparing us.