Considering the words of St Paul which were read as the Epistle today in the Orthodox Church, we see an answer to the question, if Jesus is my Lord, how should I live?
he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;
distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. (Romans 12:8-14)
Those teachings are pretty straightforward and clear. If I want to be a Christian I could start by putting the words above into practice in my life. St Paul lays it out as simply and clearly as he can. Below are three quotes from the Elder Aimilianos which we can use to help us further implement Paul’s gospel commands.
Monastic life is nothing other than the disdain for everything that impedes and compromises the love of God. (THE MYSTICAL MARRIAGE, p 66)
Not only monastics, but all Christians should have disdain for things that impede or compromise our love for God and neighbor. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, something a friend told me, our goal in the Christian life is to remove all the obstacles to God healing us. How can we do that? By practicing the directives that St Paul mentions above.
As a rule, the human person stands midway between earth and heaven, considering and reconsidering his options. (THE MYSTICAL MARRIAGE, p 132)
God created humans to be a mediator between God and all the rest of creation. So when we are fulfilling our role as humans in the created order, we stand midway between earth and heaven in order to unite all things. Christ, the incarnate God, makes this possible. We are to be united to Him and serving this same purpose of bringing heaven and earth together by having God abiding in us.
“As St Maximos says, ascetic practice is able to calm and subdue the spirited aspect of the soul. It renders us peaceful, which means to be free from views and opinions, and to not react with spiritual violence to things and events taking place around us. Instead of the upheavals caused by anger, conflict, and violence, we live in boundless peace, tranquility, and freedom. We are no longer at the mercy of desire and fallen sensuality, and enter a state of blessed ignorance regarding the things of the world, and thus we are able to be filled with the knowledge of God.” (THE MYSTICAL MARRIAGE, p 66)
As we practice our faith by imitating Christ, we learn not to be at the mercy of our desires, sensuality, emotions or wants, but rather to bring love to every situation. No longer are we to be controlled by our reaction to others or to events. We learn a calmness and we bring God’s love to every situation and to every person we meet. We free ourselves from slavery to our own opinions, desires, and thoughts as we gain the mind of Christ – seeing things from His perspective. No longer is spiritual violence acceptable in our lives. Ranting, raving, railing against people or situations we disapprove of, will no longer be our way of life. Instead we will learn to calmly control ourselves in order to witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to love others as Christ loves us. We learn not to bring our politics into the Church, but rather to bring the Christ’s love into our lives and see all things from Christ’s point of view. His point of view is always love for the other.