Friday, February 21, 2014
To become Christian ( Metropolitan Anthony Bloom )
The spiritual life, the Christian life, does not consist in developing a strong will capable of compelling us to do what we do not want. In a sense, of course, it is an achievement to do the right things when we really wish to do the wrong ones, but it remains a small achievement. A mature spiritual life implies that our conscious will is in accordance with the words of God and has remolded, transformed our nature so deeply, with the help of God’s grace, that the totality of our human person is only one will.
To begin with, we must submit and curb our will into obedience to the commandments of Christ, taken objectively, applied strictly, even when they clash with what we know about life. We must, in an act of faith, admit against the evidence that Christ is right. Experience teaches us that certain things do not seem to work as the gospels say they should; but God says they do, so they must. We must also remember that when we fulfill God’s will in this objective sense, we must not do it tentatively, thinking of putting it to the test, to see what comes of it, because then it does not work. Experience teaches us that when we are slapped on the one cheek, we want to retaliate; Christ says ‘turn the other cheek’. What we really expect when we finally determine to turn the other cheek is to convert the enemy and win his admiration. But when instead we are slapped again, we are usually surprised or indignant, as though God has cheated us into doing something quite unworkable.
We must outgrow this attitude, be prepared to do God’s will and pay the cost. Unless we are prepared to pay the cost, we are wasting our time. Then, as a next step, we must learn that doing is not enough, because we must not be drilled into Christianity, but we must BECOME Christians…
~Metropolitan Anthony Bloom