Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries

We shouldn't ask to see God if we aren't prepared
Excerpt from the book by Archbishop Anthony Bloom  "BEGINNING TO PRAY"

Source: www.scribd.com/doc/152101711/Beginning-to-Pray-Anthony-Bloom

Written by an Orthodox Archbishop for people who had never prayed before.


[ From the chapter on The Absence of God ]

Therefore, the first thought we ought to have when we do not tangibly perceive the divine presence, is a thought of gratitude. God is merciful; He does not come in an untimely way. He gives us a chance to judge ourselves, to understand and not to come into His presence at a moment when it would mean condemnation.

I would like to give you an example of this.

Many years ago a man came to see me. He asked me to show him God. I told him I could not but I added that even if I could, he would not be able to see Him, because I thought – and I do think - that to meet God one must have something in common with Him, something that gives you eyes to see, perceptiveness to perceive. He asked me then why I thought as I did, and I suggested that he should think a few moments and tell me whether there was any passage in the Gospel that moved him particularly, to see what the connection was between him and God. He said “Yes, in the eighth chapter of the Gospel according to St John, the passage concerning the woman taken in adultery.”  I said, “Good, this is one of the most beautiful and moving passages. Now sit back and ask yourself, who are you in the scene which is described? Are you the Lord, or at least on His side, full of mercy, of understanding and full of faith in this woman who can repent and become a new creature? Are you the woman taken in adultery? Are you one of the older men who walk out at once because they are aware of their own sins, or one of the young ones who wait?”  He thought for a few minutes then said “No, I feel I am the only Jew who would not have walked out but who would have stoned the woman.” I said “Thank God that He does not allow you to meet Him face to face.”


Article published in English on: 20-2-2014.

Last update: 20-2-2014.