ON LOVE FOR ONE’S NEIGHBOUR
Love for God and for one’s neighbor, they go together and cannot be divorced
With silence, tolerance and prayer we benefit others in a mystical way
When we see that the people around us have no love for God we are distressed. But with our distress we achieve nothing at all. Nor do we achieve anything by trying to persuade them to change their ways. That’s not right either. There is a secret, however, and if we understand it, we will be able to help. The secret is our prayer and our devotion to God so that His grace may act. We, with our love, with our fervent desire for the love of God, will attract grace so that it washes over those around us and awakens them to divine love. Or rather God will send His love and will rouse them all. What we are unable to do, His grace will achieve. With our prayers, we will make all worthy of God’s love.
And you should be aware of something else. Souls that have known pain and suffering and that are tormented by their passions win most especially the love and grace of God. It is souls such as these that become saints, and very often we pass judgment on them. Remember what Saint Paul says, Where sin abounded, grace flowed even more abundantly.1 When you remember this, you will feel that these people are more worthy than you and than me. We see them as weak, but when they open themselves to God they become all love and all divine eros.* Whereas previously they had acquired different habits, they now give all the power of their soul to Christ and are set on fire by Christ’s love. That is how God’s miracle works in such souls, which we regard as ‘lost’.
We shouldn’t be discouraged, nor should we rush to conclusions, nor judge on the basis of superficial and external things. If, for example, you see a woman immodestly dressed, don’t have regard only for her outward appearance, but look more deeply into her soul. She may be a very good soul with an existential restlessness, which she expresses through her shocking appearance. She has a dynamism within her, the power of self-projection; she wishes to attract the eyes of others. But through lack of awareness she has distorted things. Think what would happen if she were to come to know Christ. She would believe and she would turn all her passion towards Christ. She would do everything to attract the grace of God. She would become a saint.
It is a kind of self-projection of our own when we insist on other people becoming good. In reality, we wish to become good, but because we are unable to, we demand it of others and insist on this. And whereas all things are corrected through prayer, we often are distressed or become outraged and pass judgment on others.
Often through our anxieties and fears and our poor psychological state, without intending to and without being aware of it, we do harm to another person, even if we love him very much, as, for example, a mother loves her child. The mother transmits to the child all her anxiety about its life, about its health and about its progress, even if she doesn’t speak to the child and even if she doesn’t express what she has inside her. This love, this natural love, that is, can on occasion be harmful. This is not true, however, of the love of Christ that is combined with prayer and holiness of life. This love makes a person holy; it brings him peace, because God is love.
Let our love be only in Christ. In order to benefit others you must live in the love of God, otherwise you are unable to do good to your fellow man. You mustn’t pressurize the other person. His time will come, as long as you pray for him. With silence, tolerance and above all by prayer we benefit others in a mystical way. The grace of God clears the horizon of his mind and assures him of His love. Here is the fine point. As soon as he accepts that God is love, then abundant light such as he has never seen will come upon him. Thus he will find salvation.From “Wounded by Love: The Life and the Wisdom of Elder Porphyrios” (1906-1991)
Do you want to show love for your neighbor? Stay inside. Keep a safe distance if you need to go out.
Protect yourselves. Protect those whom you don’t even know!
Attention St. Anna Parishioners:
Though we have not altered the church calendar printed in the Bulletin, we are awaiting instructions from the Archdiocese and Metropolis as to how we are to celebrate the Divine Services of Holy Week and Pascha during our present pandemic situation. The schedule will most certainly change.
As soon as I have concrete direction, I will redesign our Holy Week Flyer and send it out.
Hope to have you with us online for tonight’s chanting of the Akathist Hymn at 7:00 pm on YouTube.