So far the family reunion is everything I hoped for. The first couple of days were spent getting ready. My brother Lar and I were determined to obey our strict but loving Mother by not eating anything, not even a crumb of bread. We had never done that before, but you know, it wasn’t so hard. In fact it made me think about how Jesus didn’t eat for forty days and then he was hungry. Yes, I felt weak but I was supposed to. She said that the hunger would make me more aware of my dependence on God. If only I could always be aware of my dependence on God more than on my dependence on food, I would probably be thinner and less cocky.
Then, on the third day my dream came true. I still didn’t eat anything and I was amazed that I hadn’t so I started to feel hungry. That was like when Peter tried to walk on the water. When he became aware of how crazy that was he started to sink. Afraid of angering Jesus too, I stopped thinking about being hungry. In the evening Lar and I went to visit Mother and the family at a place called Saint George. We read psalms and prayers with lots of brothers and sisters and we broke the fast with the Body and Blood of Christ. He tasted so good and felt so warm and smooth as He traveled into my heart. Then, like the family we are, we all went into a big room full of tables and ate bean soup together. I gave Lar two bowls because he is so big and there was enough left over. He ate them faster than you can spit.
The best part was, and I’m so glad to have this to tell you, that the most important brother in the whole wide world came to be with us and talk to us about God. When he was born his mom named him Timothy and his father ended it with Ware, but now his names have more syllables than most. Met-ro-pol-i-tan-Kal-li-stos. Try to say that fast three times! This man turned a giant light on for the English speaking world by translating so many saintly writings and by writing about the Mother [Church], her background and her ways, things that Greeks and Russians took for granted but had been all darkness to English speakers until God sent Timothy on his mission. I could cry when I think about how different my world would be if little Timothy didn’t love God so much.
I can’t tell you everything he said to us but I will tell you what struck me like little bolts of lightning and made me smile. He came to tell us about how our God is a trinity and even though that concept is a mystery, some of the multitudinous mysterious aspects of it can be described, first by contrast with the one monolithic God of the Jews and Moslems. A monolithic idea of God isn’t very sociable. But a triune Godhead is very sociable because it loves each of its Selves and in the same way God loves each and every one of us humans. So, when Kallistos says God, he thinks all three-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit together. Then, he got all intellectual and quoted Lossky to tell us that he said “The doctrine of the Trinity is the cross for human thought.” I suppose he said that so we wouldn’t get too comfortable by thinking that everything else he would say was really so simple. I wonder if Lossky’s powerful quote means that we have to completely surrender to the whole intricate concept of a triune God like Christ surrendered to death.
What really hit me was that the Trinity doesn’t have free will like we humans do who go this way and that and who change like butterflies. Each Person, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit conform to one will, called the will of God. It is probably better to think of it as the Will of the Father. We are so hot about having free will like it is everything, but when I think that Jesus and the Holy Spirit don’t have free will, well, I have to tell you, I am glad. That’s why we can trust God so much. Because He isn’t going to change His mind tomorrow about what He wants to do with us. Maybe free will isn’t so great; maybe not as great as joining God in His will. Wait a second; that reminds me! “Thy Will be done.” Maybe the best of us don’t want free will either; those who give their free wills back to God.
Because God is social, to be social is Godlike. Hell is self cut off from others. Kallistos went on and on about how wrong it is to be alone or to love yourself, which I suppose is an oxymoron since love must involve another person.
Kallistos said there is only one choice and that is to either join the Trinity or hell. Then he really opened it up by adding that all forms of community, schools, governments, businesses, families, churches should all be forms of the Trinity where mutual love and respect are free from oppression, and coercion.
When he prays, Kallistos is aware that it is not a dialogue between him and God, but rather he is taken up into their exchange of love. Sometimes he sees flashes of the Trinity inside of him conversing with each other. I suppose that happens when you and I pray too but we aren’t looking out for it, not until now at least.
I asked him how God could love everyone since so many people were so self absorbed or mean. He gave me a good answer, something I can think about for a long time. It was a gift.
He said that God made each person to be very unique. That sure is true! Well, so God loves each person uniquely. He expects different things from each person. Not us, we expect the same thing from everyone which is why we get so angry with them. What a better way God has!
This wonderful family gathering gave me two Lenten homework assignments, 1) to love people as God does by remembering the uniqueness of each person, and 2) when I pray, to listen for God talking to Himselves.