Updated: Apr 11
First of all it must be understood that it is the duty of all Christians - especially of those whose calling dedicates them to the spiritual life - to strive always and in every way to be united with God, their creator, lover, benefactor, and their supreme good, by whom and for whom they were created.
If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow Me. (Matthew 19:21)
St. Dimitry of Rostov
This is because the center and the final purpose of the soul, which God created, must be God Himself alone, and nothing else - God from whom the soul has received its life and its nature, and for whom it must eternally live. For all visible things on earth which are lovable and desirable - riches, glory, wife, children, in a word everything of this world that is beautiful, sweet, and attractive - belong not to the soul but only to the body, and being temporary, will pass away as quickly as a shadow. But the soul, being eternal by its nature, can attain eternal rest only in the Eternal God: He is its highest good, more perfect than all beauty, sweetness, and loveliness, and He is its natural home, whence it came and whither it must return.
For as the flesh coming from the earth returns to the earth, so the soul coming from God returns to God and dwells with Him.
For the soul was created by God in order to dwell with Him for ever; therefore in this temporary life we must diligently seek union with God, in order to be accounted worthy to be with Him and in Him, eternally in the future life.
No unity with God is possible except by an exceedingly great love. This we can see from the story of the woman in the Gospel, who was a sinner: God in his great mercy granted her the forgiveness of her sins and a firm union with Him, 'for she loved much'. He loves those who love Him, He cleaves to those who cleave to Him, gives Himself to those who seek Him, and abundantly grants fullness of joy to those who desire to enjoy His love.
To kindle in his heart such a divine love, to unite with God in an inseparable union of love, it is necessary for a man to pray often, raising the mind to Him.
For as a flame increases when it is constantly fed, so prayer, made often, with the mind dwelling ever more deeply in God, arouses divine love in the heart. And the heart, set on fire, will warm all the inner man, will enlighten and teach him, revealing to him all its unknown and hidden wisdom, and making him life a flaming seraph, always standing before God within his spirit, always looking at Him within his mind, and drawing from this vision the sweetness of spiritual joy.
Prayer said by the lips without the attention of the mind is nothing.