To grow into the reality of being
God chose to call us into being, and this is already in a germinal, incipient way a relationship of love – and when I say in a germinal and incipient way it is not because God's love is only incipient but because we have got to grow from the fact of existence into the reality of being, of life and into the mystery of love which is more than simple communion with God – which is sharing God's life,
becoming partakers of the divine nature.
So, at the basis of our existence there is an offer by God, an offer of companionship forever, and of love.
To grow until we really become partakers of the divine nature
We exist only, as Philaret of Moscow put it in the nineteenth century, as people standing on the will of God between two immense gulfs. Below the gulf of nothingness out of which the creative word of God has called us and above, around, everywhere indeed around us, the depth of the divine reality in which we are already at the moment we are called into being and into which we are called to grow deeper and deeper until we truly and really become partakers of the divine nature, God's by participation, the sons of the eternal Father. This is the first thing I wanted to mention.
We must be truly human to become partakers of the Divine nature
Now, after His Resurrection, those who die, by the power of His resurrection, in the glory of His love could enter into that
communion with God
which will be fulfilled
at the end of times,
as expressed by Saint Peter, as our
partakers of the very Divine nature.
But the parable which was read today warns us that we must be watchful, that we must be faithful, that
we must be truly human
in order to become truly partakers of the Divine nature.
Gods by adoption, Gods by participation
Indeed we can see that communion to the Body and Blood of Christ is the greatest gift which the Lord can grant us: companionship and equality, becoming the co-workers of God. And through the incredible, unfathomable action and power of the Spirit, because this bread is no longer bread only and this wine is no longer only wine, but have truly become the Body and the Blood of the Giver, we become incipiently and increasingly partakers of the divine nature,
Gods by adoption,
Gods by participation,
so that together with the One Who is the Incarnate Son of God, we became the total revelation of man as well as the total revelation of God's presence, the total Christ of whom St Ignatius of Antioche spoke. And beyond this, higher, deeper even than this, in this community of nature and of life with the Only-Begotten Son of God in the words of St Irenaeus of Lyon, we become truly with regard to God Himself the only begotten son.
Partakers of God's humanity
And we all are called to open ourselves to God, we all are called to let God enter into our lives, fill each of us — and this happens incipiently, almost imperceptibly when we receive Communion. We become
partakers of His humanity
and the dwelling place of His divinity. If we only could with greater depth, greater faith, and indeed greater faithfulness keep the gift of this Communion...
This body of ours is called to rise again
Indeed, according to St. Peter
we are called to become partakers of the divine nature;
according to St. Paul our vocation is to become temples of the Holy Spirit. The whole of the New Testament teaches us that we are the Body, the living tremulous Body of Christ, through baptism and through Holy Communion. How wonderful this is, and therefore with what reverence must we regard not only our immortal soul, but
this body of ours which is called to rise again, to enter the Kingdom of God
and be glorified, like the body of Christ.
Saints of God have become partakers of the Divine nature
And today we remember the name of Saint Gregory Palamas, one of the great Saints of Orthodoxy, who against heresy and doubt, proclaimed, from within the experience of the ascetics and of all believers, proclaimed that the grace of God is not a created Gift —
it is God Himself,
communicating Himself to us so that we are pervaded by His presence, that we gradually, if we only receive Him, open ourselves to Him, become transparent or at least translucent to His light, that
we become incipiently and ever increasingly partakers of the Divine nature.
This is not simply a promise;
this is a certainty which we have because this has happened to thousands and thousands of those men and women whom we venerate as the Saints of God: they have become partakers of the Divine nature, they are to us a revelation and certainty of what we are called to be and become.