Mercy and Transformative Change

Icon of Christ “The True Vine” – J79
Icon of Christ “The True Vine” – J79

“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.”  (John 15:5)

God is both “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb 13:8) and yet is the spark and drive of all growth and positive change.  But for us to really change in a good and creative way we need three particular prerequisites: in the first place a lively and loving and dependent relationship with Jesus Christ, secondly an open and honest desire to be different and the willingness to invite and go through this process of change, and finally the mercy of Christ to help us do so.  This trinity—our dependence on God, our active cooperation with Him, and His love expressed to us as inward and outward mercy—this is how any and all real transformative change must take place.

The word that best expresses all of this is metanoia of the Greek of the New Testament, or translated into English the word repent, as both St. John the Baptist and Jesus Christ began their ministry with these same words: “Repent ye, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” (Mat 3:2 & 4:17)

Christ is here and ready to help us at each moment of our life.  That is a given.  It is His conscious desire to bring every man, woman, and child to live near Him illumined by the light of His Transfiguration and His Resurrection, and so to reflect His glory now here on earth and then in the world to come.  This is why we were created in His Image and Likeness.  He has the ability to rework every part of us that is ill with the idols of pride and possessiveness, aggression and cowardliness.  All that is lacking is our own desire and trust to let Him do this wonderful work, and then our active cooperation to work with Him through this creative process of change.  Let us humbly and earnestly ask Him to do so today.  Then let us thankfully walk up this path leading to Golgotha until dying to our “old man” we may be endowed with a new life: glorious, humble and radiant with Him.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  (2 Cor 5:17)

The Monastics at St. Isaac of Syria Skete
and at the Convent of St. Silouan
and the Faithful at St. Nicholas Church
and the Staff at Orthodox Byzantine Icons and St. Isaac’s Bookstore