Saturday, April 17, 2010

Love and Fear of God

When we are called to communion in the divine Liturgy we hear, "With the fear of God, faith and love draw near."  This implies two quite dimensions in our approach to God.  One is fear and the other love.  How can we both fear and have love?

The first requirement is faith.  This is the starting point.  The second is fear of God.  Why?  We must have total respect for His infinite power.  He both gives live and takes it.  With love, through His grace, we enter Paradise and without it we condemn ourselves to hell.

What is Paradise?  Elder Porphyrios tells us,
It is Christ. Paradise begins here and now. It is exactly the same: those who experience Christ here on earth, experience Paradise... Our task is to attempt to find a way to enter into the light of Christ.
With this "light of Christ" we are blessed with immense joy of His love.  Elder Porphyrios tells us that what Christ wants most of all is "to fill us with joy, because He is the well-spring of joy.  This joy is a gift of Christ."

This gift is always waiting for us. To receive it is true life –– a life in Christ.

Elder Porphyrios says,
Christ is the source of life, the source of joy, the source of the true light, everything.  whoever loves Christ and other people truly lives life.  Life without Christ is death: it is hell, not life.  That is what hell is––the absence of love. Life is Christ. Love is the life of Christ. Either you will be in life or death.  Its up to you to decide.
The fear comes from our recognition of the awesome responsibility we have to love others.  As Elder Porphyrios says, "It is up to you to decide."  Do you want life or death?  Do you want Paradise or hell?  

It's up to each of us! 

Quotes from Wounded by Love, p 96 & 97

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