By Fr. Steven Allen of Saint Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church in Saint Claire Shores, MI
The Great Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, which we will celebrate this month, reveals to us the solution for the disorder of our inner lives.
God created our minds to know Him and to reflect His glory. The natural state of man’s mind, before the Fall, was one of light, simplicity, and unity. The mind was an unbroken mirror reflecting its Creator. By the Fall, the mind was both darkened and fragmented: It could no longer reflect the Light of the Lord, and it was broken into a million pieces, each piece obsessed with some disconnected aspect of the fallen world, and unable to connect to its other pieces. All the striving of human philosophy and science is somehow aimed at recovering this original light and unity, but without complete and accurate information about ultimate things, which can come only through direct revelation from God, and without the right formation of the mind by the power of grace acting through the life of the Church, all of this striving is doomed to failure.
This does not apply only to man in general, but to each of us in particular. Each of us, whether he knows it or not, wants to be a philosopher, in that each of us naturally wants to know what the meaning of his life is. Each of us, whether he knows it or not, wants to be a scientist, in that each of us wants to acquire accurate knowledge of the world around him.
Having the inestimable privilege of being Orthodox Christians, we know what the basis of true wisdom and true knowledge is: The Incarnate Logos of God, Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the basis for all true knowledge and wisdom in that He is both the blueprint for all created reality as well as its ultimate goal.
Christ is the basis of true wisdom and true knowledge also in this way: Only He can heal our minds, so that we can understand this blueprint and this goal. This is what He was doing on Mount Tabor, when He revealed His divine glory to the disciples. For a moment, He opened their eyes to see the uncreated light of His Divinity shining through His created human nature. By this He showed us what our purpose His: to be saved by grace and healed of our sinful passions, so that our minds, recovering the original light, simplicity, and unity, might once again know Who God is and who we are, and be united to Him in an indissoluble bond of love which will endure beyond death unto eternity.
Each of us suffers from the mental and emotional fragmentation and obsession wrought by the insanity of contemporary life. But the remedy is close at hand: to take up the tools of spiritual life offered us by the Church, and to use them. If we do not set aside time for prayer, and do not cleanse our souls through confession and feed them by Holy Communion, we have no excuse to complain that we find life too confusing and hard to deal with. Christ beckons to us each day to go up the mountain with Him. Let us heed His beloved and divine voice, and He will give rest to our souls.