Sunday, November 24, 2013
God's Love ( Saint Silouan the Athonite )
The Lord loves us as His children, and His love is stronger than a mother’s love, because even a mother can forget her child, but the Lord never forgets us. And if the Lord Himself had not given the Holy Spirit to the Orthodox people and our great pastors, then we could never know how much He loves us.
The Lord loves us so much that for our salvation He came down to earth and spilled His Blood for us, and gave It to us to drink, and gave us His Ever-Clean Body. Thus we became His children, of His Flesh and Blood; and we are like the Lord in flesh as children are like their fathers, no matter their age. And the Spirit of God witnesses to our souls that we shall always be with Him.
In order to experience the Lord it is not necessary to have wealth, or learning, but it is necessary to be obedient and abstemious, to have a humble spirit and love your neighbor; the Lord will love such a soul and reveal Himself to it, and will more often teach it love and humility, and will give it all it needs in order that it may find peace in God.
The Lord created man from earth, but He loves us as His children, and awaits us with joy.
The Lord loves all people, but whoever searches for Him, He loves most. "Who loves Me — I love," says the Lord, "and who seeks me shall find grace" (Proverbs 8:17). The love of the Lord is such that He desires that all people should be saved and be with Him in Heaven for eternity, to witness His glory. We cannot know this glory in full, but through the Holy Spirit can know it in part. And whoever has not experienced the Holy Spirit cannot know this glory, but can only believe in the promise of the Lord and keep His commandments. But even they are blessed, as the Lord said to the Apostle Thomas (John 20:29); and they will be equal to those who witnessed the glory of the Lord on earth.
And I learned that love is different in strength. Whoever fears God in order not to insult Him: this is the first kind of love. Whoever has a mind clear of unnecessary thought — this is the second form of love, greater than the first. Whoever feels the presence of grace in his soul — this is the third form of love, even greater.
The fourth, absolute, love for God is to have grace in your body as well as your soul. Such a body will become holy and leave relics. This happens with great martyrs, prophets and saints. Whoever has reached this level is untouched by bodily love. He may sleep with a girl and feel no desire for her. The love of God is greater than that bodily love that attracts the entire world, except those who have the grace of God in full, for the sweetness of the Holy Spirit recreates the entire person and teaches to love God completely. In the fullness of the love of God, the soul does not touch the earth; though one may live among others in the world, he forgets all in the world thanks to the love of God. Our misfortune is that we are too proud to stand in that grace, and it leaves our souls, and the soul searches for it, crying and weeping, and says, "My soul pines for the Lord."
Whoever wishes to love the Lord must love his enemies and be without spite; then the Lord will give you to glorify Him day and night, and your mind will forget the world; and if it should return and remember, then it will pray diligently for the world.
This is how the saints lived, for the Spirit of God taught their souls to pray for others.
Saint Silouan the Athonite