Pemptousia and OCN have entered a strategic partnership to bring Orthodoxy Worldwide. Greek philosophers from Ionia considered held that there were four elements or essences (ousies) in nature: earth, water, fire and air. Aristotle added ether to this foursome, which would make it the fifth (pempto) essence, pemptousia, or quintessence. The incarnation of God the Word found fertile ground in man’s proclivity to beauty, to goodness, to truth and to the eternal. Orthodoxy has not functioned as some religion or sect. It was not the movement of the human spirit towards God but the revelation of the true God, Jesus Christ, to man. A basic precept of Orthodoxy is that of the person – the personhood of God and of man. Orthodoxy is not a religious philosophy or way of thinking but revelation and life standing on the foundations of divine experience; it is the transcendence of the created and the intimacy of the Uncreated. Orthodox theology is drawn to genuine beauty; it is the theology of the One “fairer than the sons of men”. So in "Pemptousia", we just want to declare this "fifth essence", the divine beaut in our life. Please note, not all Pemptousia articles have bylines. If the author is known, he or she is listed in the article above.
Elder Moses the Athonite †
Christians who are striving aren’t feather-brained dupes, nor are they naïve, simplistic, superficial, shallow, gloomy, weird or abstracted.
If they are, they’re not real Christians. Striving Christians are hopeful, joyful, sincere, honourable, whole and humble.
The starting-point for self-improvement isn’t at all self-centred. The sense of my sinfulness makes me contrite, not afraid or upset.
The belief that I can change, that I’m a great sinner, shouldn’t be wishful thinking or false modesty, but sure, precise and unflinching words and action.
May the discovery of the good God’s infinite love, and of my own rebellion, apostasy and estrangement from Him give me hot tears of genuine repentance.
May God’s love for us move me, bring me to contrition, stir me and restore me. The starting-point, then, is acceptance of my sin.
This honest acceptance will bring from God repentance which will make my soul hate what it loved and love any good it had forgotten.
An Athonite Elder was once asked: ‘What is the Holy Mountain?’ He answered: ‘We have a lot of people here who are repenting. Or rather, we’re all repenting’.
Another Elder said: ‘A monk is clothed in repentance. He’s consumed entirely by the love of God and lives in repentance’. These last words are very important.
Repentance isn’t a passive attitude where we bemoan our fate and curse our fortune.
Rather, according to Abba Isaac the Syrian, it’s the heart burning with love for God, other people and the whole of creation. Those who repent have the flame of love burning in their heart and try to make up for the time they wasted in sinning They lament their offences.
They don’t worry or become anxious about themselves, about how such a wonderful person managed to make a mess of things, because that implies a great deal of self-pride. You can’t have love for God if you don’t love other people.
This love makes me tolerant, forgiving, sympathetic, kindly, amusing and charming with other people; not hard, judgmental, critical, severe, scowling and dogmatic.