The heart is the inner person. It is the center of our personality where we encounter God and where we can make our free choice concerning Him. We can’t find our heart by our own efforts. We find our heart because we have to say that the aim of the Christian life is for our intellect to be united with our heart. Then we are healed and become whole so we can turn to God with our whole being fulfilling in a Godly manner the commandment where He asks us to love Him with all our heart, all our soul and all our being.
We can’t acquire the Holy Spirit, and know God unless our intellect is united with the heart. We can’t make this happen by ourselves. The intellect is united to the heart only through the action of the grace of God. This grace comes when we crucify our intellect with the commands of the Gospel and when we learn to live, to think and to react in accordance with the Gospel decrees. The intellect then makes this descent into the depths of the heart and from there turns in its entirety to God. That is when people are healed. By ourselves, we can’t work this miracle i.e. the union of our heart with the Spirit of God. As the elder used to say that is the greatest miracle in the universe, in the whole world, the union of a person’s heart with the Spirit of God. It is the grace of God that helps our intellect to unite with our heart but God has given us various means to acquire it to make this healing process work.
One of the ways is His holy name. His holy name is the bearer of the energy of His person. His name is linked to the person of the Lord Jesus. And when we invoke His name, His presence within us come alive and with the invocation of the name of the Lord Jesus, we gather up the traces of His presence within us. And these traces of His presence build within us the holy temple of God. This is one way and one means.
The second way is His holy Word. His Word is creative. At the beginning of creation, the Lord said: “Let it be” and it was, through His Word. “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made and by the breath of His mouth, all their host”, says the Psalm. It follows that His Word is productive. When we study the Word of God, and, even more when we pray with the Word of God, it becomes the language we use to speak to God. God spoke to us with His Word and we pray and speak to God with His Word. We learn the language of God. And this language performs a productive task and leaves traces of His presence in our hearts. “Let the Word of God abide richly within you” says Saint Paul. “May the Word of God dwell in you abundantly”, he says and leave these productive traces of His presence in our hearts. And it is these that construct the Holy temple of God within us. Saint Paul says “Don’t you know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives within you?” As though, it was a perfectly ordinary state of affairs. So The Lord has given us these means and an even greater one.
The third way is the sacrament of the Divine Eucharist, the Liturgy. He said a hard thing, as the Jews used to say when He said unless we eat His flesh and drink His blood, there is no life in us. So when we participate in the sacrament of the Eucharist with a clear conscience and are nourished with His body and His blood, this then becomes our participation in the life of God. We swap this short, transient life of ours for the infinite life of God in heaven and we build the holy temple of God within us. He has given us a variety of means but I have mentioned only the three most important, His Name, His Word, and His holy Body of which we partake at communion, so that we can have life.
Transcribed from and interview given by Archimandrite Zacharias (Zacharou), of the Holy Monastery of Saint John of Essex.