by Dr. Georgios Lekkas
To the pained cry of supplication, God is always ready to respond: ‘What do you wish me to do for you, my child?’
Since He is open by nature, how could the God of Love resist a cry that has already overcome all our resistance? The truth is that this cry breaks through the vicious circle of self-satisfaction, which is the ultimate sin, and as such it urges openness.
The cry of supplication invites divine mercy because it is at heart a cry of faith. Is not faith the complete turning to God in the face of all resistance? Regardless of educational level, social profile, or our financial standing, we all become equal in this cry which stirs the mercy of God.
At the moment he lets out this great cry, a man opens himself completely to God, who is fully open by nature, and reaches out to Him with every cell in his being. Through his cry, man draws God to take an almost preferential interest in him, perhaps because he begins once again to imitate Him by becoming an opening to the Model of Openness which God Himself recommends. Through his cry man again acquires a face in the sight of God.
Indeed, because the cry of supplication always carries within it a request to return to the Father’s house, God hears this cry and responds to it, in order to conclude an eternal covenant with the one who has cried out.
The cry is part of the restoration of spiritual health in the individual who cries out because at the very moment that he does so, Christ is already at his side in the Holy Spirit and holding him in his embrace. Through his cry a person temporarily achieves that hesychastic level of unity of existence that allows him to turn entirely towards God and to be heard at the same instant.
The man who cries out in supplication to God comes, in pain but much more swiftly, to the place that a monk only reaches after many years of practice and prayer under the direction of his spiritual guide. Of course, thanks to the fragmentation brought about by worldly cares, a person without spiritual direction risks quickly losing the spiritual level that they have temporarily gained through crying out.
However, even where daily spiritual direction is not found, the Providence of the Love of God acts to make it possible even in the world to remain for a long time in the state of spiritual elevation gained through crying out, sometimes through life’s difficulties, sometimes through our passions, sometimes through demonic forces, and sometimes directly through the Lord Jesus in the Holy Spirit.
Eventually our cry restores us to an ontological relationship with the energy centre of everything, which is the Triune God. In contrast to the ontological mode of the Triune God, which is the mode of offering, in a state of eternal and ineffable Openness, the creature has to choose either the way of God, whereby through first reducing himself he expands endlessly, receiving more and more of the infinite Life of the Triune Godhead, or the opposite (and ungodly) way, to be self-limiting by expanding to the detriment of the whole of Creation.
The way of Divine Openness is the way of Love, which asks each of us to welcome within ourselves, as a part of ourselves, the Creator and His Creation as He wished to create it, while the way of the Devil is that of eternal hatred against all, since in this case, which is none other than eternal Hell, each man is kept alive only to be ceaselessly the prey of all the rest.
And this is because although He needs nothing, the uncreated God remains ever open, while His creatures, such as man, who are needy in their very nature, have chosen and continue to choose to live closed off, as if by nature they are without need! Ultimately it is truly irrational that man, a creature, should persistently refuse to love completely and without ceasing.
In crying out, however, man acknowledges the omnipotence of God, and God responds to him, drawn by the weakness of the one who calls on Him. Man’s cry and God’s reply work in unison to bring about the final meeting of God and man, so that henceforth this human being lives through God, and God through yet another human being.
Protopresbyter Dr. Georgios Lekkas is a priest of the Orthodox Archdiocese of Belgium. He studied Law, Philosophy and Theology at the University of Athens. He has a PhD in Greek Studies from the Sorbonne (Paris IV) and was a postdoctoral researcher at the French National Research Agency (2000-2005). He taught Greek philosophy in Greek Higher Education (2005-2017). His latest poetry collection, PROSECHOS ANAGENNISI (IMMINENT REBIRTH) was recently published by To Koinon ton Oraion Technon (Athens, 2021, pp.79).