|Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes - Spiritual Nourishment for the Soul - June 2005|
Our Living God Is The Perfect Light Of Love
Our Lord God is our Creator. He has made each one of us, and it is His breath of life that keeps us going second by second. This may seem a commonplace statement, but it leads us to another fact: He has not only made us, but He also lives in us. We each possess what might be called a "Divine Spark", the presence of His Holy Spirit, a permanent link between us and our Lord through whom we can experience the perfect, Divine Light of His love.
The Light of the living God is not the same as the physical light we see each day. Sometimes the sun is hidden by clouds, or a light bulb may not be powerful enough to illuminate a dark corner, but the Light of Christ shines brightly in our lives, and this Light is an offering of His love to us. If we are true believers in Christ, filled with His Spirit and the Light of His love, something very interesting and significant happens to us. We begin to forget about ourselves, our needs, and the idle thoughts that so pervade our minds, we set aside the world and its needs, and we start to concentrate on Him - not to ask for anything, but simply to worship Him for Who He is.
Then the Light comes: The goodness, purity, holiness, grace and love that are His characteristics, filling our hearts and souls with the certain knowledge that He is the True Light, and uniting us in that mystical fellowship of believers filled with His Light within our blessed Orthodox Church, which is itself a repository of the Light.
What a joy and a wonder this is! Let us remind ourselves of some of the Holy Scriptures that speak of this Light:
Jesus said "I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness" (John 12:46).
St Paul wrote, echoing our Lord Jesus: "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light" (Eph 5:8) And again, "But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day [the Day of the Lord's Second Coming] should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day" (I Thess. 5:4-5).
St John wrote these familiar words of truth: "If we walk in the light as He is is the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin" (I John 1:7).
So that we can say, as King David did: "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?" (Ps 27:1).
All of us can then behold the Divine Light of Christ, as our God continually allows it to flow into us. We receive the Light no matter who we are and what our status of life. The Lord God comes to us – in His great mercy the Lord of Life Who was before the creation of the worlds, comes to visit us! Any and every soul who wants to be cleansed and forgiven can be made pure and blameless in the sight of the Lord.
The Divine Light we speak of is not like the light of day contrasted with the darkness of the night. The presence of God in our lives, through this Light, is not something we can really understand with our conscious minds - it is a mystery, and a blessing we are simply called upon to accept as a gift. As we let the Divine Light enter us and fill our beings we become conscious of the presence of our Lord God. The Divine Light of our Gracious Lord God is the light of the mind, the light of the spirit, and the light of love.
We can now go further and say that physical light is in the image of the Divine Light in the natural world. We can of course see objects around us when there is sufficient light, but our eyes discern them badly if the light is poor. However, in the spiritual world no clear vision is possible without the Divine Light, since this Divine Light is constant, unchanging, and will always shine in our hearts and in our lives. We can also say that faith is light, too, but only in a small measure; hope is light, but not as perfect. The perfect light is love.
How can each of us behold this perfect light of love? Through Christ our Lord! Since He is both human and divine He offers His Uncreated Light to us all, bearing within it eternal life and the force of Divine love. Both the Divine love and the Divine wisdom are indivisibly one for all eternity.
Now we can say that Divine Light is eternal life, and that is the Kingdom of God, the uncreated energy of His Divinity. This Divine Light comes to us as a gift of God’s mercy. We who are His servants and His handmaidens receive a wonderful blessing when we seek to behold the Divine Light, since then our souls are filled with deep peace and the sweetness of the love of God.
We now can come to the conclusion that in the Kingdom of God there is no darkness. Instead, the constant presence of Divine Light and Divine love for us all, made one in the person Who is the essence of perfection, our loving and true Savior Jesus Christ.
How are we to keep the presence of the Divine Light of His love in our lives? We must pray, and daily offer the humble prayer known as the Jesus Prayer, or the Prayer of the Heart: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner." Each one of us should make this simple prayer part of our pattern of daily living, as it brings us into the presence of our Lord God. We experience great spiritual joy as we receive through this prayer, and other prayers such as "Lord, have mercy", and "Grant this O Lord." Saying the prayer that Jesus taught us, "Our Father…" warms the heart and the soul and gives us peace. Prayer then brings the presence of the Divine Light and the perfect light of His love into our lives. Therefore we should pray constantly and without ceasing.
Now that we have started to behold the Divine Light of Christ our Lord in our lives, we can then look at the natural sun, and the light of its rays that surrounds us, with a deeper appreciation of the great creation of our God in our lives. Think about the fact that when we gaze at the sun, the light of Christ our God is greater even than the sun! The Light of Christ has come into the world! Let us then be spiritually delighted and joyful, for the presence of our living God who offers us all His perfect love for us is always with us.
"But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (I Peter 2:9).
May the light of Christ our true God, always shine in your hearts and in your lives!
Humbly, In The Love Of Our Lord's Holy Resurrection,
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(c) Reverend Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes