Irma Zaleski was born in Poland and emigrated to Canada in 1952 to work as a lecturer at York University and as a writer and translator. On a visit to Madonna House in Ontario, she first encountered the Eastern Orthodox tradition that gives her books their unique perspective. She is the author of seven books including Living the Jesus Prayer and Who Is God? The Soul's Road Home.
While visiting a London bookstore some 35 years ago, Zaleski came upon a book called Christ Within which explains the importance of the ancient Christian teaching on "the divine indwelling" of God at the very core of our being. In a series of brief but poignant essays she explores this mystical subject, which is known in some spiritual circles as "divinization." George Fox, the founder of the Society of Friends (Quakers) said, "There was something of God in every soul." Discovering the divine within is a quest for inner meaning.
One of the main tenets of Eastern Orthodoxy is that to participate regularly in the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church is to be reminded that Christ is always present and available to us. Of faith, Zaleski says: "The essence of faith is that it is free, that we choose to believe and trust him whom we cannot understand but whom we have encountered in love."
What is the best way to express the love of God? By being truly present to others and by loving our enemies. Zaleski also salutes forgiveness:
"To love and forgive our enemies means refusing to allow the evil they have done to us to infect our own hearts and lives with its poison, and thus to spread it further in the world. It means refusing to hate them or to seek revenge on them, however hurt or angry we may feel. It also means being willing to give them another chance to repent and change, if it is reasonable to expect such a change and if it does not put the safety of others at risk."
The deepest foundation of Christian love is to accept the reality of God within us:
"God's divine reality is reflected in us, although only partially: as the sun is reflected in a drop of water or in a splinter of broken glass. Or, as St. Thérèse of Lisieux would say, we are only a little cup that God's infinite life fills to the brim. Each of us can contain only a tiny bit of this life, but it is God's life and so we are all filled. Our cup overflows and the world becomes a little more holy, a little more real."