Recalling back to our first evening together, Father Emmanuel spoke about the fast of the fifteen days of August, and how it is preparing us for the upcoming feast day of the Dormition of the Theotokos. While some consider fasting as a personal choice, the Church regards it as a necessity. The big misunderstanding by most people is that they think fasting is purely food-based and comparable to a diet. Fasting only begins with food. By fasting from food we learn discipline and obedience. This fasting then carries through to all aspects of our lives. We learn to stop serving our flesh and instead focus on things spiritual. It can help us to train our minds and even has healing properties for the body. Fasting was given to us by Jesus to help us to draw nearer to him.
Last Friday, the Evangelismos Youth met up again for the second evening of the term. Father spoke a little more on the fasting, seeing as we are now half way through. However, a large part of the discussion was on the past feast day of the Transfiguration of Christ our God (6th of August).
As it is written, “Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light.” (Matthew 17:1-2)
Also, “While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!'” (Matthew 17:5)
When it says that Christ's face shone like the sun, it is referring to the uncreated divine energy, which is God's love. This light was too much to bear for the disciples, causing them to cover their eyes. From this event, it was confirmed to the disciples that Jesus is God. Through the voice from Heaven, we also learn about the three Persons of the Holy Trinity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
While our talks do begin with a main point of focus, they tend to expand and reach out, covering different aspects of the Church. One of the most favourable aspects of our talks in the questions and answers part.
One point of discussion was on the different ranks of angels and their roles in our lives. Our guardian angel in particular, is assigned to us on the day of our baptism, protecting us, and continues with us even into the next life, interceding for us. As great as angels are, what's more is that we have a higher calling. Being created in His likeness, we are called to become gods by Grace. In, I Corinthians 6:2-3, it is written, “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?”