When you love God, it is impossible to not love his fellow men, the mages of God.
There are 3 forms of love.
- Carnal love which is filled with spiritual germs.
- Worldly love which is superficial, formal, ofthen hypocritical and shallow
- Spiritual love (True love) which is true, pure, priceless love; one must examine oneself to see if you have true love within you; When you have true love within you, you love all people equally and if you consider all people to be better than you.
Love is to be ‘shared’ properly with God, our fellow man and all creation. Love for all creation is the overflow of the ‘general’ love that a spiritual person possesses. Love of God is inseparably tied to love for one’s fellow man. Love is to listen with pain to the worries of the other. Love is also a concerned, pained glance, and a word spoken with pain, when the other is facing hardships. Love is to participate in one’s sorrow, to comfort him in this trouble.
When you are inwardly pained for the other person, God informs him of your love so that he perceives it without external displays from you. Love exists on its own, whereas joy is derived from love. When you give love, then joy comes. One offers love and receives joy; he is rewarded with the joy he feels. The joy felt when one receives is a human joy. However, the joy felt when one gives is a divine joy.
As soon as love and humility are nurtured, pride and evil will become malnourished and the passions will gradually disappear. True love an humility are inseparable. Love contains humility and humility contains love. These two virtues (love and humility) move God, so that He condescends (lowers oneself) to bend low over His creature and lift him to Heaven. These two insignia (distinguishing signs; emblem) – love and humility – enable the holy Angels to distinguish the children of God.
For one to hold the entire world in his heart, he must broaden his heart with love. A mother loves her children more than she loves herself. When one acquires this type of maternal love, he not only loves those who love him, but also those who harm him, because, just as a mother justifies everything, he, too, justifies others while taking the blame upon himself. He even feels sad for the thief who stole from himself. He thinks to himself, “He’s in jail because of me. If I had found a way to give him the money he needed, he would not have resorted to stealing and would not be in jail now".
When one loves with his heart, one feels a tremendous gratitude for God’s blessings such that he melts away and glorifies God OR one feels the weight of his sins and pleads, in pain, for forgiveness from God. The third way is for one to put himself in the position of another person who is undergoing hardships and feel physically pained for him. Then there is complete, pure love for God in the heart, then every spontaneous expression of the heart is pure.
Saint Isaac says “A merciful heart is the heart’s burning for the sake of the entire creation…” Saint Paisios; “yes that is true, “a burning of the heart for the animals, but for the demons as well.”
When one does not put God before everything, he accomplishes nothing. The spiritual person gives his love to God first, then to mankind, and the overflow of his love he gives to the animals and to all creation. This divine love is communicated to the animals, which recognize the person who loves them and feels pain for them, so they approach him without fear. Even snakes send the love of a person. If one puts himself in a snake’s place, if he feels pain for it, then it will immediately sense this and approach him as a friend. It is as if the snake is saying, “Glory be to God, I, too, have found a friend at last!”. The poor animals have man as their god. Just as we ask for help from God, so do they seek help from man. Animals never harm a person when they are in need.
True love is the priceless spiritual love one has when he ‘removes the self from his love’, that is, when one does not seek his own benefit. True love informs the other without outward displays.
For example, Christ came into the world in order to be crucified out of love for us. When there is true love and patient endurance (quality of withstanding hardship), one justifies the other and condemns only himself.
What did Christ say? “love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you.” Real love within us shows when we help psychopaths and drug addicts. We see Christ in our brother. Whatever we do to comfort our brother, it is as if we do it to Christ Himself. “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me."
The justice of God is love, forbearance (patience/υπομονη); it is completely unrelated to human justice.
For example, a thief goes to rob a monk in his ‘keli’ (monastics' room), After torturing the elder for a while, even choking him with a rope around his neck, the thief realized that he has no money and started to leave. At that moment, the monk told him, “My son, may God forgive you”.
If you do not speak about a difficulty that you are facing out of love, so as to avoid bringing others into a difficult position, then you will preserve the peace within you. This difficulty will bring the blessing of God. It’s better for you to bear the difficulty than to have others experience difficulty because of you.
“Once I was tired and in pain, for I had a back problem at that time. An elderly man who was 85 years old was waiting for me outside and wanted to spend the night in my ‘kalivi’ (home). After explaining to him that he could not spend the night with me, I picked up his luggage and put it on my shoulder as I escorted him to the nearest inn, a half-hour’s walk uphill. I also gave him five hundred drachmas for his expenses. I practiced a little patient endurance and then, I was peaceful because the other person was peaceful.”
When there is true love and patient endurance, one justifies the other and condemns only himself. “O God, I am at fault, do not take me into account; cast me aside and help the other person”.
Doxology is a thanksgiving to God. If we consider it a great honour and a blessing that the Good God has provided that we become Christians, this “boast” contains no pride. If we assume that one considers it a blessing and rejoices because God has provided that he have good, devout parents, it does not mean that he is boastful in a worldly manner, but that he is grateful and thankful to God.
Doxology sanctifies (makes holy) everything. Doxology fills one with gratitude; he goes mad in the good sense, and celebrates everything. And when one thanks God even for the least things, the blessing of God then comes in such great abundance that he simply cannot endure it; and then, the devil, departs.
For one to resemble God, he must live according to the commandments of God, working diligently on himself. This is how one is cleansed of the passions and acquires virtues; then, he will not be merely in the image of God, but will continue on to being in the likeness of God, since the Grace of God is active within him.
To become friends with God you must live according to the commandments of God. By observing the commandments of God we cultivate virtue and acquire the health of the soul. In order to observe the commandments of God with precision, we need courage, a manly heart and vigilance (Wakefulness).
This is why you ought to seek out your shortcomings and what it is God asks of you, to examine what you have done and what you should have done but did not. Ask yourself “Although what I am doing may be pleasing to me, is it pleasing to Christ?”