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Love towards your neighbor.


44. I heard of one person that when he came to one of his friends and found the room in disarray and even dirty, he would say to himself: "Blessed is this person, because having deferred his concerns for earthly cares, he has concentrated his mind that much toward Heaven, that he doesnít even have time to tidy up his room." But when he came to another friendís place and found his room tidy and neat, he would say to himself; "The soul of this person is as clean as his room, and the condition of the room speaks of his soul." And he never judged another that he was negligent or proud, but through his kind disposition, saw good in everyone and received benefits from everyone. May the good Lord grant us the same kind disposition, so that we too may receive benefits from everyone and so that we never notice the failings of others.

44. The main thing to avoid when meeting people is to be suspicious ó from which comes adjudgment. I have many examples, which prove that everyone judges others according to his spiritual circumstance. For example, imagine that it was necessary for a person to stand by the roadside at night, and walking past him were three people. On seeing him, one of the three would think that he is waiting for an illicit rendezvous; another would imagine him to be undoubtedly a thief ó he looks suspicious; the third would think that no doubt the person arranged to go to church with someone and was now waiting for him. Thus, the three saw the same person, in the same place, but concluded about him entirely differently. And this evidently, corresponds to their spiritual situation. Just as a sick body converts any food it ingests ó even though it might be most nutritional ó into harmful juices, so does a soul with corrupted morals, receive harm from any matter that it has dealings with, even from the very good. But the one who has good morals is like a person with a healthy system, who even if he consumes something that is not completely healthy, will still convert it into healthy juices. If we will have good morals and build ourselves up correctly, so will we be able to receive spiritual benefits from every matter.

44. To annoy, judge and spoil ó whose works are they other than the devilís? And we appear as the demonsí helpers ó to our and our neighborís perdition. Why is it so? Because there is no love within us! Because "love will cover a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8). The Saints donít judge a sinner and do not turn away from him, but commiserate with him, grieve for him, enlighten, console, administer to him like a sick part of a body, and do everything to save him.

45. There must be an endeavor to completely purge the inner pus, so that the affected area would heal in such a way as to be free of any remaining ugliness and it would be completely impossible to recognize it as the area where the wound existed. How can you achieve this? By praying with all your heart for the offender, saying: "Lord, help me and my brother for the sake of his prayers!" Praying in this fashion for your neighbor, the person shows compassion and love simultaneously. Asking help for yourself, for the sake of his prayers, mollifies him. And where there is compassion, love and humility, can there be irritation, rancor or any other type of passion? And Abba Zosima said: "If the devil raises all the wiles of his hatred, together with all his demons, they will all shatter and disappear against humility ó according to Christís commandments."

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