Sunday, April 26, 2015

Love of Christ is Love of the Church ( St. Porphyrios )

Christ created the Church on earth as His body with Him as the head. To love Christ is to love His Church. St. Porphyrios says the Church is “exactly the same as Paradise in heaven.” All souls are one in His Church.

 St. Porphyrios says

Love, worship of and craving for God, the union with Christ and with the Church is Paradise on earth. The services of the Church are the way we can express our love for Him and He His love for us.

He says,

The divine services of the Church are words in which we converse and speak to God with our worship and with our love. The hours spent closest to paradise are the hours spent in the church together with all our brethren when we celebrate the divine Liturgy, when we sin and when we receive Holy communion. How do we show our passion for Him? When we love Christ we enthusiastically observe the formal aspects of the church, the services, and are eager to participate in the sacraments especially the sacrament of Holy Communion. We enthusiastically come to church to express our love for our lover.

He says,

The divine services are a very great affair. The precondition is for everything to be done with eros, with interest and with a sincere disposition to worship Christ--not as a chore and not perfunctorily, but with eros and divine enthusiasm. Worship must spring from the whole soul and whole heart. What does this mean? Your only thought must be God… It is not something that is done under duress. You feel a spiritual delight and pleasure. It’s not like the homework a child does for school. It is like the passionate love between people, but higher and spiritual.

Above all, the sacrament of Holy Communion is an act of Divine Love. This is an act of joining in ecstatic union with Him.

Elder Ephriam of Arizona writes about the splendor of the Divine Liturgy.

The Divine Liturgy, what a splendor indeed! Man has been honored by God in such a way that He Himself comes down to earth with His Angelic Orders every time there is a Liturgy, in order to nurture man with His Most Holy Body and His Most Precious Blood! For He has given us everything. Is there anything physical or spiritual, perishable or everlasting, that has not been offered to us? None! Is there anything superior to His Most Holy Body and Blood, which is given to us on a daily basis? There is certainly not. God has enabled man, who is full of soil and dirt, to serve the Divine Liturgy. So priceless is the Divine Love that just a tiny drop exceeds any earthly, physical and secular love. The Orthodox faith is all about Love.

St. Porphyrios says,

Our religion is love, it is eros, it is enthusiasm, it is madness, it is longing for the divine. All these things are within us. Our soul demands that we attain them.

Reference: Wounded by Love, pp 90, 92, 165, 166