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Chris­t­ian spir­i­tu­al­i­ty is cen­tered in God; in fact, its very goal is com­mu­nion with God, which is attain­able through the accom­plish­ment of His will. To be what God wants us to be and to do what God want us to do is the sole mean­ing of our human exis­tence. The ful­fill­ment of the prayer “Thy will be done” is the heart and soul of all spir­i­tu­al effort and activity.

In the Old Tes­ta­ment law, it is written:

I am the Lord your God; con­se­crate your­selves there­fore, and be holy, for I am holy (Lev 11:44).

In the New Tes­ta­ment, the first let­ter of Saint Peter refers to this fun­da­men­tal com­mand of’ God.

… as He who called you is holy, be holy your­self in all your con­duct; since it is writ­ten, “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Pet 1:16).

That human beings should be holy by shar­ing in hap­pi­ness of God Him­self is the mean­ing of union with God. All are “called to be saints” (Rom 1:7) by becom­ing “par­tak­ers of the nature of God” (2 Pet 1:1). This is what Jesus meant when He said in Ser­mon on the Mount, “You, there­fore, must be per­fect, as your heav­en­ly Father is per­fect” (Mt 5:48).

The teach­ing that man must be holy and per­fect like God Him­self through the accom­plish­ment of the will of God is the cen­tral teach­ing of the Ortho­dox Chris­t­ian faith. This teach­ing has been stat­ed in many dif­fer­ent ways in the Ortho­dox spir­i­tu­al tra­di­tion. Saint Max­imus the Con­fes­sor (7th Cen­tu­ry) said it this way: “Man is called to become by divine grace all that God Him­self is by nature.” This means very sim­ply that God wills and helps His crea­tures to be like He is, and that is the pur­pose of their being and life. As God is holy, man must be holy. As God is per­fect, man must be per­fect, pure, mer­ci­ful, patient, kind, gen­tle, free, self-deter­min­ing, ever-exist­ing, and always, for eter­ni­ty, the absolute super­abun­dant real­iza­tion of every­thing good in inex­haustible ful­ness and rich­ness… so man must be this way as well, ever grow­ing and devel­op­ing in divine per­fec­tion and virtue for all eter­ni­ty by the will and pow­er of God Him­self. The per­fec­tion of man is his growth in the unend­ing per­fec­tion of God.