“Our mind goes outside itself and so unites with God; it becomes more than mind.” Saint Gregory Palamas
Spirituality is a most difficult term because it is used in many ways, often in ways that denigrate true Christian spirituality. Often, when one does not have any real faith they say, “I don’t believe in any religion but I am spiritual.” The term spiritual generally refers to an undefined inner spirit of man. So, those who do not have any firm religious belief have some sense of this inner spirit, but no clear path or intent to develop it. For Eastern Christians there is a very very clear notion of this inner sense of spirit and a clear path exists to respond to it.
Eastern spirituality involves a journey towards a mystical union with God through living the Gospel teachings in the context of the Church and participating in her sacraments and Holy Traditions. Dumitru Staniloae speaks to this in His book, Eastern Spirituality.
He says Eastern Christian spirituality
“presents the process of a Christian progress on the road to perfection in Christ, by the cleansing of the passions and the winning of the virtues, a process which takes place in a certain order. In other words, it describes the manner in which the Christian can go forward from the cleansing of one passion to the cleansing of another, and at the same time acquiring of the different virtues.”
We need to ask ourselves: “Do we know this process? What are the steps along this path?”
In the next few posts I will be sharing with you some of the thoughts of this great Eastern Theologian about these and other questions on Eastern Spirituality.