sermo / meditatio
- excerpt from: JESUS: A DIALOGUE WITH THE SAVIOUR
by A Monk of the Eastern Church [Archimandrite Lev Gillet]
paperback, 185 pages
"Learn of me..." [Mt 11.29] We cannot know Jesus without learning Jesus. We must learn day by day, hour by hour, little by little; it is a task of docility and perseverance. It presupposes a daily familiarity with Jesus: being close to Him, listening to Him. "Of me..." The Saviour desires this direct, intimate relation with each soul. Others can prepare us for His message and tell us it again with profit. But these will never be anything but tutors. He alone is the Master, the one whose teaching springs from the Godhead. Here the teaching is united with the teacher. To receive Jesus' message is to discover the person of the Master. Jesus want to reveal to us what He is. And what does He want us to learn about Him? This, which is very simple, very brief and accessible to the most ordinary and ignorant people: "that I am meek and humble of heart" [Mt 11.29]. That is what He wants us to know first of all. Is it very much? Cloaked in these words we could discover
Bethlehem and Golgotha.
To know Jesus we must be capable of a certain disinterest and a certain objectivity. This knowledge must be the greatest interest of our life. Therefore we must prevent our lives, even on the spiritual plane, from becoming our primary occupation. What we will learn about Jesus from Jesus must be more precious to us, more desireable, than what we will learn about ourselves. Because the Saviour's face forces us to become aware at once of our own proportions, of our own situation; from this immediately emanates the possibility --- more: the active power --- of our metamorphosis. But Jesus' face must not interest us primarily because of its effects on us. First of all, we must be captivated by its intrinsic beauty.
"Have I been so long a time with you and have you not known me, Phillip?" [Jn 14.9] My child I have been with you also for so many years! Yet, in many respects, I am unknown to you. What you know about Me is nothing compared to what there is yet for you to learn. Are you willing to devote the time which is left to you to knowing me?
This is the knowledge of Christ: "eternal life, that they know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent." [Jn 14.9] It is not enough to say that this knowledge takes place in eternal life. It is eternal life. Eternal life consists in this. Consequently, eternal life begins here below. This knowledge is the link between time and eternity. The only true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent: these are not two objects of knowledge. For it is only in Jesus that we know His Father and His Spirit. "He that seeth me seeth the Father also." [Jn 17.3]
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]