Byzantine Catholics have a particular style of Christian living unique to our rite. We especially stress:
A belief in our call to be divinized;
Union with God through the Holy Mysteries
A 'public' life of worship, fellowship, service;
A 'secret' life of prayer, fasting and sharing;
The need for 'spiritual warfare'.
Our most important belief is that we are called 'to become partakers of the divine nature' (2 Peter 1:4), not just to be 'saved' from sin. We see ourselves as invited to live the very life of God, to become intimately related to God, to be physically united to Christ and to have the Holy Spirit dwell within us! The Church Fathers saw this as the reason for Christ's coming: 'God became man so that man might become God' (St. Athanasius).
Our relationship commences in faith upon when we receive the Holy Mysteries. Through Baptism, we are made one with Christ as we reenact His burial and resurrection. Immediately we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, the first of "God's gifts" (Romans 8:23) in Chrismation (confirmation). When we receive the Eucharist, we recognize that our mortal bodies are united to the Body and Blood of Christ as a token of the live to come, when we shall be united to Him in glory forever. Thus we see these Mysteries are not merely pious devotions. They are encounters with God as the Mysteries produce the effect that they symbolize.
Our style of worship in the Eastern Churches is reflective of the presence of the risen Christ among us in glory and joy. All our senses take part in our worship to express this glory. We see icons, vestment, candles: we smell incense and perfumes; hear continuous singing; we taste blessed foods and use physical gestures such as bowing, prostrating and crossing ourselves to express our wonder in the glory of God.
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