On the second Sunday after Pentecost, the local saints of each Orthodox Church are commemorated: in our case, the Romanian Saints. Today’s word will also be about saints because the Epistle read today was about them. They were those who simply believed our Lord’s words. They believed that what He said is true and they fulfilled His words in their own lives through works. They left us a fresh testimony that all Christ said is true, that Christ is all-powerful – even if we don’t perceive this due to our immaturity – and that it is possible to attain the love of God. They believed and gave everything they had for it, thus sanctifying themselves. The saints are role models for us.
In chapter 3 of Ephesians, Saint Apostol Paul tells us very beautifully what a saint is, how is the heart of a saint, how is the soul of a saint and how we should strive to become: “To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places” (v. 8-10). What is he telling us about? He is telling us about the unfathomable riches of Christ. The saints, as Saint Paul says later, have enlarged their souls and have captured the riches that lie in Christ.
We, however, who enjoy such treasures (e.g., we commune of Christ’s Holy Body and Blood) are poor. We beg for pennies left and right. This is because we do not know how to sacrifice ourselves, or how to believe the words of Christ. Our faith is weak. The saints, however, believed. Through them, says Saint Paul, God’s wisdom was even revealed to the angels of heaven. Even the angelic powers did not know these mysteries that God revealed through men.
Saint Paul continues: “According to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him (v. 11-12). This is what we do not have: boldness and closeness to God, with full confidence. How do we know this? From the fact that we allow ourselves to be impressed by temptations and trials, by the work of the enemy, in general. We are overwhelmed, fearful of the work of the evil one. We do not live in our heart this closeness to God, the boldness and faithfulness in His power.
“Therefore, I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. For this reason, I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height” (v. 13-18). This is our calling: to enlarge our hearts (cf. 2 Corinthians 6.13). This is what the human heart is made for: to become enlarged, to encompass heaven, earth and all people, as the Holy Fathers say.
This is the great wealth, which unfortunately do not access because of our little faith, because of our interests that are elsewhere. We do not want this wealth. We want something else. Because if we had wanted it, we would no longer be like orphans and beaten by the wind, but we would have had boldness and trust in Him.
“To know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (19). We are made for this: to taste and know “the love of Christ which passes knowledge.” This knowledge is not rational, but is of the heart through the Holy Spirit. This is the true Christian. It is important to renew these promises, because for them we were baptized, to walk in this direction. Saint Paul said about Christ that all the fullness of God dwelled in Him (cf. Colossians 2.9). We too are called to be filled with all the fullness of God.
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen!” (20-21). If we all carefully read this text, each one of us in his or her own conscience, we will see that we are very far below the dignity of Christians. Christ came to bring us “life in abundance” (cf. John 10.10), He spoke to us and waits for us to taste of these things, to trust in Him. This is what He wants: to give us things beyond what we ask or understand.
This is what we, as Christians, should desire: to taste from these realities.