Saturday, April 10, 2010

Love for All

There is one thing, O Christ, that I want, one thing I desire, one thing I ask for, and that is to be with You.  Elder Porphyrios
If your aim is to be one with Christ, what are you to do?  First, be alive with faith.  It is essential to have a craving to be one with God.  According to His teaching, you must show love towards all your friends, enemies, as well as all your neighbors. You must strive endlessly to live a life where you are continually trying to live as Christ lived.  Knowing this is most difficult, the Church provides the help you need through its Liturgical cycle of services, its sacraments and teachings about prayer and fasting.  This love is expressed through your commitment to His Church, your obedience to its teachings, which is then expressed in your love for others.  There is a process of purification that is necessary to be able to do this.  For most of us we must first come to terms with our sinfulness and not live in denial of it. 

Elder Porphyrios says,
One thing is our aim –– love for Christ, for the Church, for our neighbor.  Love, worship of, and craving for God, the union with Christ and towards one's neighbor, towards everyone, including enemies. The Christian feels for everyone, he wants all to be saved, all to taste the Kingdom of God. That is Christianity: through love for our brother to arrive at love for God. to the extent that we are worthy, divine grace comes through our brother.  When we love our brother we love the Church and therefore Christ.  And we too are within the Church.  therefore when we love the Church we love ourselves.
To see the Church as Christ and to place my trust in Her was the most significant and most difficult thing I ever did in my life. I had to learn to face my own sinfulness and become obedient to the Orthodox Way of Life as set forth by the Church. Once I did this, then other worldly love was continually nurtured and my failings exposed. This step demands a leap of faith along with a spiritual father to be one's guide. Its not easy, but be assured that the Orthodox Church has all the means to help us in this process that can best be described as a surrender.

Quotes from Wounded By Love, p 97 

Orthodox way of LIfe - Ten Point Program for Orthodox Life

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