I cannot believe I forgot to include Metropolitan Kallistos Ware’s books on my list in my last post. So I am including some of his thoughts from his book The Orthodox Way here. He has definitely been a lighthouse for me and so many others.
“Joyful thanksgiving, so far from being escapist or sentimental, is on the contrary entirely realistic—but with the realism of one who sees the world in God, as the divine creation.”
“We see that it is not the task of Christianity to provide easy answers to every question, but to make us progressively aware of a mystery. God is not so much the object of our knowledge as the cause of our wonder.”
“Pain and evil confront us as absurd. Suffering, our own and that of others, is an experience through which we have to live, not a theoretical problem that we can explain away. If there is an explanation, it is on a level deeper than words. Suffering cannot be “justified”; but it can be used, accepted—and, through this acceptance, transfigured. “The paradox of suffering and evil”, says Nicolas Berdyaev, “is resolved in the experience of compassion and love.”
“The contemplation of nature has two correlative aspects. First, it means appreciating the “thusness” or “thisness” of particular things, persons and moments. We are to see each stone, each leaf, each blade of grass, each frog, each human face, for what it truly is, in all the distinctness and intensity of its specific being. As the prophet Zechariah warns us, we are not to “despise the day of small things” (4:10). “True mysticism”, says Olivier Clément, “is to discover the extraordinary in the ordinary.”
“Such, then, is our God: unknowable in his essence, yet known in his energies; beyond and above all that we can think or express, yet closer to us than our own heart.”
Peaceful Sunday, friends. Revel in the mystery this week rather than trying to find answers. For many of you it is the start of Holy Week. The Eastern church’s is next week. For all of us it will be a very different experience due to the quarantine. May you experience God as a loving presence in all of life.