Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Divinely Energized

There’s a lot of talk in new-age circles about “energy.” Cosmic energy, bodily energy, psychic energy, the energy of a particular place or person. There is some truth to this, for energy in various forms can be scientifically verified and even put to good use, but all too often this “energy” talk is just part of the nebulous jargon of psychics, occultists, and wanna-be “enlightened spiritual persons” who believe in everything they come across in new-age bookstores.

But there is a true and profound Energy that we do well to discover and receive. Those who are just now experimenting with various “energies” (some of which can actually be demonic), are probably unaware that “Divine Energy” has been a standard theological term in Eastern Christian churches for many centuries, and its roots reach back into Sacred Scripture.

“Divine Energy” is a term that refers to God Himself, insofar as He can be manifested and communicated to creatures like us. It is contrasted with the Divine Essence, which is the hidden inner being of God which is not knowable or accessible to us. So we know and experience God when He reveals and communicates his Divine Energies to us. “Divine Energy” is another way of speaking about Divine Grace (or Sanctifying Grace, as they say in the Latin tradition), the indwelling presence of God.

“Energy” translates the Greek energeia (that’s obviously where our word comes from), and in Scripture it usually refers to the power of God, his activity in relation to us or within us. So we read about the “energeia of his great might, which he accomplished in Christ when he raised him from the dead” (Eph. 1:19). Christ “will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the energeia which enables him to subject all things to himself” (Phil. 3:21). “You were also raised with him through faith in the energeia of God” (Col. 2:12). Perhaps most importantly for our own daily experience is, in St Paul’s words, “striving with all the energeia which God mightily inspires with me” (Col. 1:29).

God’s power—grace, energy, presence—is within us, the same power that effected the resurrection of Christ and that will transform us, body and soul, when He comes to judge the living and the dead. This Divine Energy is available to us in the Sacraments, and it is communicated to us through the word of God and through every way He chooses to love and bless us.

Without Him we can do nothing. With Him all things are possible. Get divinely energized. This is not “new age” but is ever-renewing. It’s as ancient as God Himself, as fresh as the first day of creation, and as urgently necessary as the air we breathe. “Grace be with you” (Col. 4:18).