‘I am He Who is speaking to you’ – Part 2

15 May 2017
[Previos post: http://bit.ly/2qEcaoa]

In a homily on the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman, the shepherd of Thessaloniki, Saint Gregory Palamas, mentions that, from the moment that Jesus confessed that He is the Christ, the woman immediately became completely committed to spreading the Gospel, leaving everything behind and bringing many of the Samaritans to Jesus Christ. And so, the rest of her luminous life as Saint Foteini [=Lucia, i.e. luminous] was stamped with her martyrdom and her love for Our Lord Jesus Christ[12].

In the case of the Samaritan woman, Jesus first brought her to an awareness of her sinfulness, revealed to her that He knew the secrets of her heart, illumined the dark points of her life and then created an internal crisis of conscience within her which led to a genuine confession[13]. Then came repentance, which transforms people into genuine and faithful children of God.

Kyriaki_Smareitidos

‘Give me some to drink’ is the characteristic phrase of the Lord’s. He said these words not only to the Samaritan woman, but addresses them to all generations until the end of the ages. Christ Our Saviour didn’t give the living water only to the Samaritans and the Jews. He gave it to all people who are aware of their spiritual thirst in the wilderness of this life, and He continues to do so to this day.

Saint Nikolaos Kavasilas writes that the thirst in our soul requires infinite water[14]. This ‘infinite water’ is divine Grace, which ‘always heals the sick and supplies what is missing’[15]. God alone, Who is in all things perfect to an infinite extent and is the source of all good, can solve this problem of dryness that we have.

It’s impossible for us to know the Lord except through the Holy Spirit. Saint Paul confirms this when he says that no-one can say that Jesus is the Lord except through the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit’[16]. Outside Christianity there’s no virtue, there’s no good that deserves heaven. What is good, says Saint Mark the Ascetic ‘is impossible to do and to believe in except through the union with Jesus Christ, and with the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit’[17].

Saint Ignatij Brianchaninov says that the good works we do as part of our nature aren’t worthy of God, because they arise from our fallen nature. There is good within us, mixed with wickedness, and the small amount of good is hard to find within the superfluity of badness. So God and the Gospels set no great store by our natural goodness and the actions which derive from it[18].

Blessed are they who hear His voice and approach Him in faith. Christ isn’t going to ask them what language they speak nor what nation they belong to. He doesn’t want to know how old they are, nor whether they’re rich or poor. He gives to all the ‘living water’ to invigorate and revive them, to renew them and regenerate them, to adopt them, to bring them out of the fiery furnace of this world and lead them to the promised land[19]. Only a true Christian, that is a Christian who combines faith with works, can be a true believer in God.
May we also be worthy of becoming faithful children of Our Lord, just like Saint Foteini, Equal to the Apostles, who represents a role model for every Christian wallowing in the mire of sin and not repenting.

Christ has risen!

[12] Saint Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessaloniki, Homily on the Gospel of Christ on the Samaritan Woman.
[13] Metropolitan Nikolaos of Fthiotida, «Εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν Θεοῦ», Αποστολική Διακονία –Έκδοσις Β΄ 1999
[14] Saint Nikolaos Kavasilas, On the Life in Christ, Discourse 2 66.
[15] 1st Prayer at the Ordination of a Priest.
[16] I Cor. 12, 3
[17] Saint Mark the Ascetic, Chapters on the Spiritual Law, 6, 2.
[18] Saint Ignatij Brianchaninov, Bishop of the Caucasus and Black Sea, Ascetic Homilies I
[19] Excerpt from Saint Nikolaj Velimirović, 3 Homilies on the Day of the Resurrection
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