On Salvation and Paradise part 2
Everything will pass and will end as if had never existed, whereas works done in God will remain with the soul that worked them so that the worker may reap eternal life from them. Blessed are the spiritual philosophers of God, who give away transient things and store up eternal things, so that when they depart, they will find their treasures in God’s treasury with accrued interest. Blessed are they who clean their hearts from the weeds of sin and cultivate the good seed, for the time will come for them to reap sheaves of eternal life! Blessed are they who sow tears with spiritual fasting, that is, always hungering and thirsting for good works, for they will reap eternal joy!
All the labor, toil, and temptations in this life, my blessed child, cannot be compared with that blessed life. Even if we had thousands of lives and sacrificed them all, we would not have done anything significant in comparison with the future glory in which Christ the Master longs to establish us through
His precious and life-giving Blood! This is why the Apostle Paul says, “The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Rom. 8:18).”
Furthermore, reflect that man “withers like a flower and passes like a dream (Is. 40:6-8),” and that “when the trumpet sounds, all the dead will rise as if in an earthquake (2 Thes. 4:16)” to meet Christ.
When the door of the age to come opens, and when the present world is destroyed, then our nature will be restored to its original state. The Lord “will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body (Phil. 3:21).” Our nature, which groans and travails together with all of creation (Rom 8:22), awaits the glorious revealing of the children of God with an intense yearning. “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God (Rom 8:19).”
The grandeur of man, whom God raises to such heights and glory, is unrivaled! Yet we passionate* sinners are unaware of and indifferent to these great riches, and our way of thinking is completely earthly. Just think: this body which is fetid dirt is counted worthy to be conformed to God’s glory, to become angelic (Phil. 3:21)!
Now, men are material in comparison to the angels, which are purely spiritual beings. Angels in comparison to God are somewhat “material.” They are not purely spiritual as God is, Who is unapproachable light. In this manner men will also become angelic then. Then, a single unity of the fullness of the Church, of the faithful with Christ will occur. How tenderly and paternally our Lord puts it: “Father,” He said to His Father, “I desire that they also whom Thou hast given Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which Thou hast given Me (Jn. 17:24).”
Can worldly riches compare with these words of God? If only we were there where our Lord is—where angels shudder and tremble to approach! O hidden wisdom and infinite wealth of God!
The word “passionate” in this text is not used in any of the secular senses of the word, but is used to describe someone or something subject to the passions*.
A passion is a spiritual disease that dominates that soul. When one repeatedly falls into a certain sin, it becomes second nature—a passion—for him to keep falling into this sin. Thus, one who misuses the God-given powers of the soul of desire and anger, or one who continually succumbs to temptations of lust, hate, malice, or jealousy, or one who succumbs to pride and vainglory acquires those passions. It is primarily through obedience to an experienced elder that one is cleansed or healed of the passions and reaches dispassion*.
Dispassion is achieved when all three aspects of the soul (i.e., the intelligent, appetitive, and incensive aspects) are directed towards God. It is the transfiguration of the passionate aspect of the soul (i.e., the aspect of the soul which is more vulnerable to passion, namely, the appetitive and incensive aspects), rather than its mortification. Thus dispassion in this context does not signify a stoic indifference, but rather, a transfiguration and sanctification of the powers of the soul and eventually of the body also.
Source — From Counsels from the Holy Mountain: Selected from the Letters and Homilies of Elder Ephraim of Arizona