Monday, August 5, 2013

He is the Radiance of the Father.

Icon of the Transfiguration, Sinai, 12th century
It's been four years since I first posted these thoughts on the Feast of the Transfiguration, and I'm finding them worth considering afresh. May He Who is the Radiance of the Father shine on and in us.

Light and Love

This quote was brought to my attention today, on the eve of the Feast of the Transfiguration.
St. Macarius of Optina:
None of your suffering has come by chance. Nothing can happen to us without our Lord's consent; and His consent is not only wise but always dictated by His love of us. Carefully examine your conscience and your life, and I am sure you will understand what I mean. Sorrow weighs you down? Never mind. The grateful heart, humble and wise - the heart which has become grateful, humble, and wise - will be greatly consoled and blessed with serene joy.
As I was looking for an icon of this feast, I ran across a phrase "transfiguration of suffering," and I realized that--of course--these thoughts are connected. As I have heard regarding Orthodox theology from the beginning, it's difficult to put it into a systematic theology, because "everything is connected to everything else." God won't be boxed into our human and finite categories.

Just as Christ was revealed in all his glory, as much as the disciples could bear, that is, so every Christian has the potential to shine with the light of the Holy Spirit. Suffering can be used as a tool to accomplish this, as we see in the lives of many of God's people. One person who comes to mind is Father Arseny, whose life of suffering in the last century one can read in two books of firsthand accounts. Reading about him, I caught a vision of what it might mean to be truly a Christian, a "little Christ." There is a short review of the books about him here.

I have little suffering to bear, but if I do accept it with thanksgiving and patience, it might make me more able to show forth His light and love. This is a good thing to keep in mind and heart for the Feast.

4 comments:

M.K. said...

I like very much the quote here from St. Macarius. How true it is that suffering is designed and allowed by our Father God, and is for our good! It often takes years (or a lifetime?) to realize the truth of this in one's own experience. I'm surprised when Christians voice to me the opposite view, that suffering is a random event and God has nothing to do with it. Scripture teaches the view you give here, and how true we find it to be!

Amanda Sexton said...

This book is at the top of my list of favorites. I also went away feeling that I had caught a glimpse of true Christianity. I think I even told my husband those exact words. Thank you for the reminder about suffering well.

Gumbo Lily said...

A very excellent quote....if I would just remember more often that nothing happens by chance, but God knows all about it.

Thank you, Gretchen Joanna.

~Jody

Cathy said...

I lighted up when I read your post's caption, "He is the Radiance of the Father". Another moment of worship!

Only this morning I was studying the scriptures in Hebrews 12 regarding God's discipline to those who are His. His discipline toward His childen is sanctifying.The trials that we face are there to mature us and make us to be disciples that serve in Christ's church and kingdom, "that we might be partakers of His holiness".

Blessings to you!