Fr. Meletios Webber in his excellent book Bread & Water, Wine & Oil, using our liturgical texts, compares our hearts to a mirror that has a thick layer of dust on them. The dust is a result of letting the emotions and feelings that are a result of bad thoughts from our broken minds cause our hearts to fall into disuse. We only rely on our minds that are so often spitting out a stream of worry, anxiety and just plain noise. He says that sometimes the dust is so thick that it seems that the heart does not exist at all. How do we dust off the heart? Fr. Meletios says that there are only two ways: prayer and participation in the Holy Mysteries of the Church. Knowing that the way to revive our hearts is through prayer and the Mysteries of the Church we can see how vital a daily prayer life and our participation in the services of the Church are. Liturgy is all about the heart. Whereas the mind wants to distract us with the past and the future, Liturgy is all about the present moment in a profound way. We are not worried about the past and we are not anxious about the future we are fully in the present moment. Prayer and the Holy Mysteries is the path to sanctity, which is a fancy way to describe our hearts and minds working together with the Lord.
And on a day like today when we are in the waiting period between the Lord’s Ascension and the descent of the Holy Sprit at Pentecost, we remember how the Fathers did not use their minds the way Arius did to try and reason about mystery. The Fathers followed the Lord with their hearts and not their feelings or emotions. The coming of the Holy Spirit bypasses the mind and goes straight for the heart. We won’t get off track with emotional, rational thoughts. We are in the fear of God with faith and love. We are hopefully awaiting the promised Spirit in a new way. And every Liturgy is a little Pentecost when the Spirit descends upon us and upon the gifts that are present. This is the only way to dust off our hearts and start letting the Lord lead us. This is the only way to renew and reunite our hearts and our minds. This is the way of the Fathers. This is why the Orthodox Church has cornered the market on worship. Because in it, without distraction, entertainment or emotion, we know Him who loves us.