Orthodox River

Faith: a dispassionate understanding of God

A dispassionate understanding of God

St. Diadochos of Phtoiki

It was St. Diadochos of Photiki who wrote that faith is: a dispassionate understanding of God. In Orthodox tradition, this is important because God does not reveal Himself to people through their reason, but through their hearts. This brings deeper meaning to the beatitude of Christ: “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” We know that our passions distort our understanding of God in our hearts. The passions: gluttony, lust, avarice, anger, despondency, despair, vainglory and pride, all become the sources for our inability to have deep faith.

Archimandrite Symeon Kragiopoulos This may sound exaggerated, but be mindful of this: it is possible that Christians commit a great sin because they use their relationship with God and they make whatever sacrifices they need to make, in order to realize their wishes and dreams. Their aim is to please themselves.

All these desires can never be satisfied. As Orthodox Christians, we must be vigilant to recognize and acknowledge our passions keep us from being in communion with Christ, they distort our understanding of the person of Christ. The world doesn’t need more people with a great assurance of faith which distorts God and uses Him for fulfilling their own dreams and desires.

As the great fast approaches, we need to recognize how many times these passions can influence how we pray and what we are requesting from God in our prayers. If we don’t, our very lives are can become distorted by our desires to please ourselves and find happiness for ourselves, in order to satisfy our passions. The very person who we are will lack the purity of heart needed to see God.