If you want to see God and experience His presence you have to present to Him a clean soul. How many times have you picked up a glass at a restaurant and looked at it carefully before you poured in your beverage to drink. You certainly do that because you want to make sure that the glass is clean! Right? And if you see a spot or something else on the glass, you lift up your napkin and wipe it clean, or even call the waiter (the server) and ask for the glass to be replaced. You do not want to drink from a dirty glass! The dirty glass has to go back to the dishwasher!
If we look at this from the spiritual perspective, each one of us is a “glass” in the face of the Lord! We offer ourselves to Him in many ways wanting to honor and please Him. We offer ourselves to him so that He may pour His Grace in us. If we are clean, He will be able to fill us with His Grace; if we are spotted or filthy, He will have to reach for the napkin, or send us to the “dishwasher.”
The first question one would ask is “how do we manage to get ourselves dirty?” Well, think about it. There are so many ways we can to do that; Remember when we were kids and played outside, how easy it was for our mother to know that we had gone too close to the lake, because our shoes were muddy, or too close to the barn because we had hay in our hair? It is usually obvious as to where we have been by the effect that the place and environment has left on us. In the spiritual warfare, of course, the filth will not be just physical. For example, if we have been in the company of people who curse, we will have constant thoughts of all the filth we have heard. If we have been looking at pictures or movies of seductive scenes, our mind will be filled with thoughts and urges that lead us in that direction. If we have exposed ourselves to actual sin by action, then our mind and heart will be held captive by the passion of that sin until we wash it clean and restore the mind and heart to its original settings.
The final question is “how can we wash clean our heart and mind and be restored to God’s pleasing?” Repentance, humility and the desire to clean what is dirty and fix what is broken is the only way. God’s “dishwasher” is the Sacrament of Confession. The process is relatively easy: Just call the “server” of the Holy Sacrament (the father confessor) and you are half way there. Then you will be able to present yourself “clean” to the Lord. Then He will be able to pour His Grace abundantly in you. Then He will be able to “drink” from your offering. What a great gift God has given us in Confession! The ability to regenerate our souls and reset our hearts and minds!
Fr. Panayiotis is pastor of Holy Transfiguration Church in Marietta, Ga.