永生的知識，如同耶穌告訴我們的，是聖三一的奧秘，是「合而為一」(To Be One)。耶穌說：「正如你父在我裡面，我在你裡面…使他們合而為一，像我們合而為一」。(約翰福音17：21~22)。這就是全部的福音，這就是基督信仰最獨特之處，基督信仰實際上並非宗教，而是「合而為一」。我的屬靈父親St. Porphyrios臨終時，將他自己的靈魂交付神的時候，最後一口氣的遺言，就是「合而為一」。
我們如何合一?我們如何與耶穌基督合一?我們如何成為「一」?因為我們與基督人性的本質結合，透過洗禮，透過教會聖事，尤其是透過領受基督的聖體聖血。這就是教會重要的教義：基督「兩性一位的結合」(hypostatic union)。基督並不是分裂的兩個本性，而是神性和人性，在一個位格中(Person)永遠地結合，如同第四次大公會議所言，在基督的位格中，兩種本性：「不相混亂，不相交換，不能分開，不能離散」(WITHOUT CONFUSION, WITHOUT CHANGE, WITHOUT DIVISION, WITHOUT SEPARATION) (UNITED but NOT MIXED, DISTINCT but NOT SEPARATE)。
你可能會問：「但聖禮儀會結束啊，我們會各自回家啊，然後呢？」我們會在我們每個人的心中，延續教會的聖禮儀。因為透過堅振聖事，我們每個人都是司祭。信徒在教會中，不是來看表演，而是透過你們的共同祈禱，神父的祈求才能完成。St. Maximos the Confessor曾說，教堂中的祭壇，是與每個人都有的內在祭壇連結著，那祭壇就是我們的心。
我們透過心禱：「主耶穌，憐憫我」，不斷延續著「道」(Logos)的聖禮儀。因為心禱，就是讓聖子，道，成為我們靈魂真正的呼吸。因為真正的生命，不只是心臟的跳動，或是肺部的呼吸；如果我與神合一，如果我與眾人合一，我的心就真正地呼吸著神的道(Word of God)：「主耶穌，憐憫我」(Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me)。
當我在希臘阿陀斯聖山時，曾有人問我的屬靈父親St. Porphyrios，當我們想為其他人祈禱時，可不可以說：「主耶穌，憐憫某某人(名字)」，而不要說：「主耶穌，憐憫我」呢？St. Porphyrios說：「當你說憐憫『我』，這個『我』，就是所有人，就是每個人，這就是合而為一，就是在耶穌基督之中的合一」。東正教會中，所有的祈禱，都是朝向合一，尤其是心禱，是真正合一的方式。透過神的恩典，整個宇宙都在我們的心中。我們必須實踐並明白，這就是東正教會的獨特之處，沒有其他方式可以比擬。其他的冥想，有時反而使人走向隔絕於社會的孤獨。
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2014.06.01 “May All Be One” Sunday of the Fathers of the First Council
John 17:1-13 At that time, Jesus lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work which you gave me to do; and now, Father, you glorify me in your own presence with the glory which I had with you before the world was made. I have manifested your name to the men whom you gave me out of the world; yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you; for I have given them the words which you gave me, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you did send me. I am praying for them; I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are mine; all mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me; I have guarded them, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.”
Acts of the Apostles 20:16-18, 28-36 IN THOSE DAYS, Paul had decided to sail past Ephesos, so that he might not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hastening to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost. And from Miletos he sent to Ephesos and called to him the elders of the church. And when they came to him, he said to them: “Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own Son. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities, and to those who were with me. In all things I have shown you that by so toiling one must help the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” And when he had spoken thus, he knelt down and prayed with them all.
I will say something about today’s Gospel, which is the most beautiful of all the Gospels because it is from the last prayer, the Prayer of the High Priest of Jesus Christ, which He said before they arrested Him. He says to the Father, “Now that this is the eternal life, to know You, the Father, and the one whom He sent, Jesus Christ.” Actually, this knowledge that is eternal life is not an intellectual type of knowledge. It is not to study and to study and then to say what is eternal life. This knowledge is a meeting; it is a relationship, a very, very deep relationship. What is this knowledge? It is as Jesus says to us of the mystery of the Trinity, “to be one.” He says, “Father, as you are in me, I am in You, and I want all those to be also as we are one.”
Actually this is all the Gospel wants to tell us. This is the unique characteristic of Christianity, which is not exactly a religion, but something very unique: to be one. “In ousian,” the Greek for, “To be one,” were the last words of my spiritual father, St. Porphyrios. When he was dying, he gave his soul to God, saying “To be one.”
Actually, to be one is the struggle of all human beings. It is a struggle in which we, by ourselves, cannot succeed. This is the drama of human beings. Just from the very beginning of our existence, it is because of an attempt, because our father and our mother tried to become one in love. And because they tried to become one, the product of that love is me and you. And when we come into our life, we feel that we come from a separation because we come out of our mother’s womb into the light as a separation. We start to understand the world because to create a relationship with another person. I start to understand because I see the father and I am cut from the mother. Not only this, but we go to the light and we don’t feel good to be one person only.
In Paradise, God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” And how did he create us? It was as an unspeakable unity. If you see the words of the Bible, the Greek text of the Septuagint, which the New Testament uses, God said, “Let us make the human being, Adam, man and woman.” And so He did not create two separate people, but it is the mystery of God that he created one flesh, because Adam said, “This is flesh of my flesh,” when he saw the woman who had been separated from him.
And finally all this love, all this unity, goes away. It is the tragedy of humanity when it is stopped in the end, by death. But even by death there is a unity because my body will be dissolved and it will be united with the dust and the air and with everything, and then again there will be a unity. It will be a unity in death, not a unity in life.
And we can also see very practically that it is not something that works like physics, but if I say that I throw this so it can drop down, [lifting a book in the air] I could say that this is working so as to be one with the floor. It is like the way water works that comes down as rain to be united with the earth so that new things can come up. So this is the drama of human beings: it is a unity in the end. IN the ancient Greek tragedies, you can see this, and this is the great drama, to see this beautiful attempt to be a unity in death.
But there is a real unity, which is the unity in the Holy Trinity. This is a unity of life. When Jesus Christ says, “Father, you in me and I in You.” He is speaking about the homoousein, because it is the essence of the Father that the Father gives to Him. And He says, “As we are one, I want them” – and He speaks for us. Because in this prayer, He speaks first about His disciples; but later He says, “Not only about them, but about those who will believe in me.” So this prayer Is for you, is for me. We are very happy, are very lucky that Jesus is calling us to answer Him. And this is why Jesus came – for those who are scattered and broken pieces in the Creation, to bring to him in a unity.
It is not just to give a legalistic forgiveness – that would be so easy. This is how we are united, united in Jesus Christ, how we become one, because we are united with his human nature. This is through the baptism and the other sacraments of the Church, especially the Holy Communion.
And it is because of the other very important doctrine of the Church: the hypostatic union. So Jesus is not separated, but it is the divine nature of the Son of God and human nature that are united forever: not separated, but distinguished not mixed, as the Fourth Ecumenical Council says. And Jesus Christ is God because He has only one ‘person’; he was pre-existing, so it’s the same person, the Son of God, who suffered on the Cross. So when I am a member of the Body of Jesus Christ, I participate in Him really. And when I participate in him really, then I have this unity, like the Holy Trinity – three persons with one essence, just so we – many persons – participate in the one human essence of Jesus Christ. And because of the hypostatic union, we participate in the unity of God.
But we must remember, that when we participate in the Body of Jesus Christ we are members of one another, also. I cannot be a member of Jesus Christ and not be a member of my brother. And the Holy Spirit is not mentioned in the last prayer, but it is there because how could I do all these things? It is because of the grace of the Holy Spirit, which is here, which is doing the Liturgy, which is invisibly in the Church. This is why we do the Liturgy. We come from different places to be in one, so as to make the body of Jesus Christ visible by my unworthy hands and really by the hands of the real priest, who is Jesus Christ.
And also we bring here to be one the gifts. And we bring here our dead people because we commemorate them and you can see that I put these small pieces of bread for their names inside the holy chalice. So this union this unity with Jesus Christ, to be one, is beyond all human life or death, and this is forever since there is no death in the Church.
You may say, “So what? The Liturgy will be over and we will leave here. Then what?” We will continue the Liturgy since we have the Liturgy in our hearts. Because each one of you because of the chrismation also has priesthood. Because you know, you are not here as if to watch a movie or a play, but in the way that you finish my prayers. St Maximus the Confessor says about the altar, that there is an altar [putting his hand on the altar at the front of the church] but this is connected with the altar that everyone has in his heart. And we continue the liturgy of the Logos by the Prayer of the Heart. Because the Prayer of the Heart is asking the Logos, the Son of God to be our own real breathing. It is not only just to breathe as a human being, or for my heart to beat, which is a biological thing, but if I am united with God and I am united with you, then my heart is breathing the word of God: “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.”
Somebody may say, as I said to St. Porphyrios on Mt. Athos when I asked my father if I should ask to have mercy on myself or ask for mercy on the others, on John and Johanna and the others? He told me, “You don’t understand. When we say wo [me], it means everybody.” It is to be one. And it is this union in Jesus Christ, this unity in Jesus Christ.
So, especially the Prayer of the Heart (of course, every prayer, but especially the Prayer of the Heart) in the Orthodox Church is the way of the real unity to be one in ousian the universe is in our heart by the grace of God. So we must practice and understand this thing, which is what the Orthodox Church uniquely and nobody else has, this understanding, because the ways have a unity or a meditation that is just meditation that sometimes leads to antisocial loneliness. This loneliness, this disunity to be one, the Church has tried to protect us from. And this is what we celebrate today. The homoousian – to be one – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to have one essence. Because there were the heretics like Arius, who said it is not like this, that the Son is not equal with the Father, which is breaking the unity.
So you understand now that the dogmas of the Church are not just for the theologians. Somebody could say, “Why should I care what Arius or all the others say?” But you understand that if the Father and the Son are not equal, and it is not “Me in You and You in Me,” as Jesus Christ said, then there is no unity. This struggle for unity was also in the other ecumenical councils. For example, there is the question of whether the hypostatic union, the question of whether we can be united with God, is real or not real? Of course it is real. But as I say, the Church sometimes very strictly condemns people – not to condemn them as people, but to condemn their heretical attitudes and heretical teachings because this destroys the unity with God and the unity with others.
And this is why in the epistle for today Apostle Paul says, “After me there will come fearsome, terrible wolves – very angry wolves – to split the brothers and to put other teachings there, the synallilistic [mutual support between a religion and the government] teachings of the Jews, to keep the Law and have circumcision and so on. And don’t think that this just happened when Apostle Paul was writing, or in the Fourth Ecumenical Council. Even today we see the wolves, and they destroyed and split this church. There is a wolf who will read this Gospel today and play with the body of Jesus Christ as they break bread. And before, when they used to come here, after the liturgy, with their stomachs full of Jesus Christ, they went secretly to restaurants to plot to destroy the Church, in the darkness to split the Church. Jesus says in the last prayer, that he did not lose anybody except for Judas; and now we have the modern Judah also, but this cannot break the real unity of the Church.
But this can also make us be careful and to insist on being one and to insist on practicing the Prayer of the Heart, and to be wise and to be in the love of one another. And most of all, in the middle, to come and do the Eucharist and to participate in the Eucharist and celebrate the Eucharist, which is everything that we have in this life and in the next life.
Please keep this prayer of Jesus Christ in your minds all today, in ousian, and try to see this unity everywhere: in the flowers, in the waters, in your brothers and sisters, with our dead people. Just meditate on this today. And try a little bit, because to be one means to open my self-ishness, not just to say to be one. [You should not say,]“Bring the food here. I’ll eat it all by myself.” But try to open a little bit our self-ishness to be one with the other. Because the other comes inside me, so I open myself. So, to be one, please, today.
May the Holy Trinity protect all of us.