40. He who loves himself cannot fully love God,
but only he who does not love himself because of his strong love for God, truly
loves God. That person would never wish glory for himself but only to GodÖ.For
a God-loving soul, filled with feelings of God, it is natural to seek glory
only for God, as for itself ó rejoice in humility. Glory is fitting to God
because of His greatness, while to the human ó humility.
42. When a person begins to sense a strong love
toward God, he then begins to love his neighbor, and having begun ó doesnít
stop. This is precisely what the Holy Scripture teaches. At the time when
carnal love evaporates because of the slightest reason, spiritual love ó
remains. In a God-loving soul that is situated under Godís influence, the union
of love is not interrupted even when someone exacerbates her. This is because a
God-loving soul, although it sustained some type of grief from her neighbor, is
warmed by its love toward God and quickly returns to her former benevolent
disposition and readily reinstates its feelings toward the neighbor. The
bitterness of discord in her is completely overwhelmed by Godís sweetness.
40. A novice once asked a "starets":
" Father, who can fulfil all the commandments when there are so many of
them?" The "starets" replied: "He who emulates our
Lord Jesus Christ and follows Him step by step." ó "But who can
emulate the Lord?" reiterated the perplexed novitiate, "After all,
the Lord was God, although He did become a human, while I am a sinful human,
enslaved by countless passions. How can I emulate Christ?" The "starets"
explained, "From all the people that are hostage to earthly cares, none
can emulate the Lord. Only those that can say with the Apostles: ĎWe have left
all and follow Youí (Mat. 19:27) receive the strength to emulate the Lord and
walk along His commandments." Then the novitiate exclaimed: "But
father, the Lordís commandments are many and who can remember them all, let
alone fulfil them, especially such a feeble individual as I? I would like to
hear a brief directive from you, so that I may be saved in following it."
The "starets" responded: "While there are many
commandments, they all fit into one: 'You shall love the Lord your God with all
your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,
and your neighbor as yourself' (Luke 10:27). In trying to fulfil this specific
commandment, that person fulfils all the others. However, he who doesnít free
himself fully from material attachments is unable to really love God and his
neighbor. Consequently, donít worry about the physical only, but according to
your strength undertake the task of focusing your mind totally on your inner
self, "For ó according to the Apostle ó bodily exercise profits a little,
but Godliness is profitable for all things."
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