The Kingdom of God is Within You

MIDEAST- JERUSALEM-RELIGION-CHRISTIAN ORTHODOX EASTERAgain, some thoughts from Kalomiros’ Nostalgia for Paradise. This particular selection is on the reality of the Kingdom of God within us – and the particular importance of Hesychasm, the practice of inner stillness and the knowledge of God dwelling within us. I have written myself about the utter centrality of communion with God. His work underlines and expands this in a marvelous way.

God is the place, the means, and the power of any communion. He is the communion itself, the love itself, because God is a Trinity, a loving communion of Persons. Only the communion with God is capable of providing the communion of creaturely persons. Any attempt at direct communion among humans is doomed to failure because it is powerless. There is no true power of communion but the divine energy. Only a communion with the divine energy enables true communion among ourselves. Any communion that overlooks or ignores God comes to self-delusion. Indeed, if a communion of persons exists in the Church, it exists to the extent that those persons have communion with God.

When there is no personal communion with Him, a simple gathering of persons in the house of God, even around the Table of Sacrifice and in the communion of His Body and Blood, can be blasphemy against God and unworthiness before the Church’s most sacred mystery. For communion with God is in persons, by the Holy Spirit.

Whether a Christian is in a church, in the street, at home, in a crowd of people, or alone, the matter of communion with God is a matter of turning inward. It is in our hearts that we will encounter God. And when we do, He will take us by the hand and put us in communion with others. And in our communion with others, the bond that joins us will always be God Himself.

So there is no other path to the Kingdom of God but the one which leads to our heart, the one which leads “within you.” It is the path of hesychasm or stillness. Hesychasm is the deepest characteristic of Orthodox life, the sign of Orthodox genuineness, the premise of right thinking and right belief and glory, the paradigm of faith and Orthodoxy. In all of the Church’s internal and external battes ever, we had the hesychasts on one side and the anti-hesychasts on the other.

The very fabric of heresy is anti-hesychastic.

20 Responses to “The Kingdom of God is Within You”

  1. Steve Says:

    Very good Father – thank you.

  2. Joseph Hromy Says:

    Great Posting again! Father I was recently at St Mary’s of Egypt Monastery in NYC and a very young monk told me Orthodoxy does not require a external act. It is all in the heart so true!

  3. David Says:

    Yet there are dragons in my heart! How is it possible to quiet dragons?

  4. Joseph Hromy Says:

    First for you David to stop questioning everything that is posted on this website! It may take you your whole life! Take care

  5. fatherstephen Says:

    David,

    Questions aren’t so bad. But the only way to quiet dragons is to listen to something else. We decrease by allowing God to increase. We become humble because we have allowed God to dwell in His fullness. Small, quiet prayer, with its center directed to God, is the most effect means of quieting dragons and the incessant noise of our own brains. I have a very noisy brain myself.

  6. asinusspinasmasticans Says:

    Father –

    St. George killed a dragon, didn’t he? So, they aren’t invulnerable nor immortal.

  7. Karen C Says:

    Dear Father bless!

    You had a post that might be helpful to David here:
    https://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/2008/02/27/fasting-without-force/

    There was another similar one that I didn’t have time to find (also from Elder Porphorios (sp?) I believe) about not trying to beat sin by focusing on it and trying to destroy it ourselves, but rather through praying the Psalms, the Jesus Prayer, etc., by focusing on God. That one was very helpful to me, too.

    I wake up nearly every morning with nervous butterflies in my stomach because I am naturally inclined to worry–especially about how I will fulfill my duties for the day. This has increased in mid-life and because I have children to care for, but I have been inclined to be anxious from childhood. For months now, I have been batting those intrusive anxieties away with the Jesus Prayer (and similarly as they return throughout the day). It sounds too simple to work, but I have found it quite effective.

  8. zoe Says:

    Thank you Fr. Stephen for your explanation. This is so true.

  9. Steve Says:

    asinusspinasmasticans and zoe,

    Actually, it was the archangel Michael and his angels who fought and prevailed against the dragon.

    Those who fought against the beast and won, were singing the hymn of Moses.

    Not sure how St. George fits into the picture.

  10. Moses Says:

    Beautiful! =D

  11. Margaret Says:

    Thank you, Fr. Stephen! God bless you!

  12. Sbdn. Lucas Says:

    Steve,

    The reference is not to the dragon from the Apocalypse of St. John, but to the following account:

    http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsViewer.asp?SID=4&ID=1&FSID=101184

    [see paragraphs 29-32 beginning with, “The pagan era was coming to an end…”]

    the sinner,
    Sbdn. Lucas

  13. fatherstephen Says:

    St. George killed a dragon. Every icon of him shows this. Indeed, it has much to do with his patronage of about half the Christian countries of Europe, including England. Every Christian home in Israel/Palestine, virtually without exception, has a ceramic icon of St. George over the door.

  14. Joseph Hromy Says:

    Forgive me guys I can be very blunt to people I guess it is part of being a New Yorker God Bless

  15. handmaidleah Says:

    Joseph, I think there is value in what you said; there is a time when we do stop questioning and start taking things on faith. Sometimes the faith is strong in the belief, other times not so much or is a weaker sort of faith. It is helpful to me to remember that I am the one standing in my own way, God is always faithful.

  16. Audra Says:

    Father, could you recommend a place to buy Elder Porphyrios’ writings? Wounded by Love is not available through any of the regular booksellers I usually use.

  17. handmaidleah Says:

    I just read a post over at Second Terrace that seems to address what we are up against when we become Orthodox later in life:

    [The Emergent church views]”…Christianity as a journey, and as an experience, more than a destination. It frequently confuses humility with uncertainty: very often, you will hear emergents tolerating or being open to doubt and skepticism about the Faith. They oppose dogmatism, and are generally uncomfortable talking about dogma, or “normative belief” or “faith-propositions” at all, since that seems to be too limiting, too patriarchal and too “western/colonial” and not multicultural enough. This is really a self-consciously “post-modern” movement that chooses an individualized “mysticism” over traditional dogma: this movement is very much built on a smorgasboard approach to Christian spirituality. In this “mood,” you will often hear emergents say, “Give me Jesus, not doctrine.” They will insist on the priority of “orthopraxis” over “orthodoxy,” especially in terms of doctrine (and we have to be cautious, because that same notion is gaining currency in our own community – the easiest response to this fallacy is that while one certainly sees deficiencies in orthopraxis, one never sees superfluity in orthodox doctrine; and it is certain that deficiencies in orthopraxy are produced by more profound deficiencies in doctrine).”

    Taking Holy Orthodoxy as “normative belief” means that we often come up against our past beliefs. Developing an Orthodox mind-set or lens through which we view these beliefs and, indeed, the entire world, I think is helpful.

    Its not that we ever stop questioning, its where do we look for the answers to those questions and for the Orthodox it is Her Church and teachings about God.

    I hope I cleared up what I was trying to say and didn’t muddle it further!

  18. Steve Says:

    Thanks Lucas

  19. Katrina Says:

    Audra,

    Try light-n-life.com – ITEM WOUN100 – Wounded by Love: The life and wisdom of Elder Porphyrios.

    Katrina

  20. Joseph Hromy Says:

    David having to always better yourself not just materially, but emotionally and spirtually is a lifelong journey; I have recently begun to understand that there are no quick fixes to any of these challenges that come into our lives. God Bless! Joseph Hromy

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