Bread & Water, Wine & Oil: An Orthodox Christian Experience Of God
By Archimandrite Meletios Webber
Published by Conciliar Press, 2003.
In this book we are taken on a fascinating journey into the workings of the mind, the source of the “logismi”, and how it creates an awareness of a shallow self – our ego. Because of the Fall, this sense of self has been broken – we are told how this happened in the beginning as well as how it continues to play out today.
Although necessary, the mind usually functions involuntarily and takes control of our lives. On learning to use the mind only when it is needed, one can come to an entirely new level of awareness.
A deeper self is to be found in what the Fathers call “the heart, the nous or the soul”. It is through this “nous” that we have the capacity for direct contact with God.
In the process of falling from Paradise, our mind and heart became disconnected, even lost to each other. In the practice of Orthodox Christian life, they are given the opportunity to heal and to start the process of reintegration.
Archimandrite Meletios describes in a very engaging way how broken our mind actually is! What draws the reader most however, is his beautiful analysis of how to begin healing. This healing is nothing less than developing a very personal relationship with God.
Both heart and mind are called to participate in the Mystery that is the life of God, reflected in participation in the Mysteries (i.e. Sacraments) that are the life of the Church.
Everyday substances – oil, water, bread, wine – together with simple external actions such as offering, blessing, washing, anointing – are the means by which God intervenes in our lives. And here, God does all the work. We just need to be present and prepared.
Father Meletios offers very real and practical advice on this life-long journey to reunite our mind and heart and to find the treasure within all of us. He describes the Sacraments of our Church to help us gain a better understanding on how to use them in our quest to reinvigorate the heart and to enter into a meaningful, personal relationship with our Maker.
Source: December-January 2015 Lychnos Edition