I wonder what St. Justin who wrote the above quote about one hundred years ago, would think about the modern world and all its challenges. What would he think about our self-confident times. Every generation faces the challenge of finding Christ in their midst, among the distractions, philosophies, politics and material crisis's they face. They must each wrestle with expressing the eternity of Christ in the language and times within which they live.
St. Justin Popovich: Never was there less God in man than today, never less God on earth than today.
The Incarnation of God in Christ, must both be put into the local language and customs of each generation and sanctify the people living during each generation so that they can experience the reality and transformation of Christ's Incarnation. Unfortunately, for us now, who really do have less of God in the world and less of God in us at this very moment, this is a very sobering thought and a difficult task.
St. Justin Popovich writes: In European philosophy, the human being is always seen as a fragmented being: all attempts at self understanding start either from the intellect, or from the senses and fail to achieve a sense a person as a whole…
Modern thought, Western thought does not provide a deep understanding of being a whole human. Much could be said concerning the pursuit of happiness promoted in Western thought and how it results in the individual's use of both God and other people to secure their own happiness and safety. While much is understood in Western thought or modern life scientifically, technologically and materially, modern life is a fragmented existence.
the Lives of the Saints
It is in the lives of the saints of the Orthodox Church that we see a different approach being lived than what we see in the examples of modern life. We see lives transformed by grace and lived by an eternal Divine energy and for the Glory of God. We do not see a knowledge of rational analysis that is mindful of the current concerns of each generation, but a different knowledge of the heart, mind, soul and cooperation with God. We see a union with God.
In what manner were the Saints able to become close to Christ? They did this by becoming like Christ. Their lives became whole and by God's grace and with their efforts, they were no longer fragmented beings. They became transformed beings, whole beings, simple, still, other worldly beings, living with the reality that everything in this world will go away, and eternity is the only true reality. The Saints learned to truly experienced the Incarnation of Christ.
For us who like St. Justin Popovich, realize that there is less of God in the world and less of God in us, the lives of the Saints provide great consolation. Not just because they now offer for us who ask of them, their heavenly intercessions, but we have the examples of their lives to follow as well. Their lives become for readings in Orthodoxy theology, in that they ceased to live for themselves and lived for the one who rose from the dead.
They became deified. Their knowledge didn't stop in a rational sense but become connected to fuller and deeper expression of what it means to be human. The Saints became by grace what God is by nature. That in their lives they became living examples of truth. They became by grace what God is by nature.