Dr. George Stavros is Executive Director of the Danielsen Institute and Associate Clinical Professor of Pastoral Psychology at Boston University. His research interests are in psychotherapy and spirituality, psychotherapy training, and the intersection of psychology and Eastern Orthodox Christian theology. Hey is licensed psychologist and a certified pastoral counselor.
Making an attempt at identifying Divine Compassion is overwhelming, and I feel completely befuddled trying to put together thoughts that make any sense. At the same time, I'm deeply grateful to have the opportunity to be in dialogue and relationship with the other participants in this conference. I'll start with what, for me, has proved to be a crucial and enduring framing of the meaning of divine compassion. It comes from Bishop Ware’s book, The Orthodox Way. In it, he describes the ways in which the ancient world utilized olive oil, or eleos: Light, heat, food, medicine, and anointing are all aspects of divine compassion. In other words, we know God's mercy when we are enlightened, warmed, fed, healed, and given a place in the kingdom. And, when we experience Divine Compassion, we are compelled to become vessels of it, distributing it into a broken and traumatized world.
For myself, I know of no other ways of receiving Divine Compassion than those mediated by loving relationships. I have, therefore, been powerfully drawn to the relational approaches to psychotherapy, particularly those which seek to reestablish contact with traumatized parts of the human person; to repair the inevitable ruptures between human persons; to understand and shift towards healing the systemic forces that so easily perpetuate cycles of exploitation and abuses of power. I hope to draw upon sources from both theological and psychological traditions which, when utilized and understood as echoes of Divine Compassion, join together to be forces which enlighten, warm, feed, heal, and guide human persons, families, and communities towards the Good.
Judgment Sunday (Meatfare Sunday)
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