Monday, February 3, 2014

True Love

Love is central to the Orthodox Way of Life. But to love, we must first have what the Fathers call dispassion. This is where we have been freed from control by the passions. With dispassion our response to the sensual inputs we receive from our senses no longer determines our response to them.  We are able to receive them without having any particular desire, but instead we can act with self-control based on the virtues brought to us by God. As long as our actions are controlled by our bodily instincts we cannot surrender to God and convey His love. Why? Because we are still egocentric in our way of being and a slave to our bodily and worldly passions.

Diadochos writes,
He who loves himself, cannot love God. But he who doesn't love himself because of overwhelming richness of the love of God, loves God, for such a person never seeks his own glory, but that of God. Because he who loves himself seeks his own glory, but he who loves God, loves glory of Him who made him.  Since it is proper to the sensitive soul to always seek first the glory of God in all the commandments which he is carrying out, and secondly to enjoy himself in his humility.
What is love?  For Orthodox Christians, love is an uncreated energy of God that is communicated to us by the Holy Spirit. It is a divine and deifying energy that is a genuine participation in the life of the Holy Trinity.  Saint John says, "Love comes from God." (1John 4:7)

This divine love of necessity comes only after one has gained a victory over the passions and one has the power of concentration to focus his soul on God in prayer. When we feel this love of God in our hearts, it is then that we become capable of loving our neighbor with a spiritual feeling.  This capability to love others is a fruit of the love of God.

Saint Isaac the Syrian says,
He who loves God, cant help but love every person as himself, even though he is displeased by the passions of those who are yet uncleansed."
On the other side, he who has any trace of hatred in his heart will not be able to have this love for others.

Saint Maximus the Confessor writes,
"If a person sees a trace of hate in his heart, for any fault whatsoever in anyone at all, he is completely alienated from the love of God."
See how important it is to reconcile yourself with everyone?  Even one trace of hatred will block you from God's love.  To love truly requires a pure heart.  We need to examine ourselves and all our relationships to see where we are holding any grudges that defies our love.  Even though it may not be easy to reconcile, we must do so if we want to be joined with God in His love.

Saint Isaac the Syrian describes the nature of God's true love.
And love, having God as its cause, is like a spring bubbling up whose stream never stops and He alone is the cause of love and its material is inexhaustible... for this material which brings him to the remembrance of God is always available to him, so that even in sleep he speaks with God.
Seek after this unending source of love. Prepare yourself with dispassion. Reconcile all your relationships. Let none be swept under the carpet. Practice the Orthodox way of life. It will lead you to this pure love.

Ten Points for an Orthodox Way of Life


Resource: Orthodox Spirituality by Dumitru Staniloae, pp 303-309



5 comments:

  1. Outstanding! Thanks for sharing this!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This website is a wellspring of love and wisdom. This particular blog on True Love may be the best yet!

    ReplyDelete
  3. While I agree about being dispassionate towards the 'fleshy' desires of the world... what if we are married and God calls us to desire our wives in deep love and intimacy? Is it not difficult to be dispassionate yet passionate in this area?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I just came to your post and reading above thing it is very impressive me and it is very nice blog. Thanks a lot for sharing this.
    love

    ReplyDelete
  5. Passion alone motivates love! If your motives are pure intentions of love, then there is nothing wrong with pasison, because there is absolutly nothing wrong with LOVE! In the name of Abba Yah Yahuveh, Yah Yahushua, and precious Skhinyah... Yah Bless All!!

    ReplyDelete