We have spoken about hate; now let us speak of love. Love is
the virtue opposite to hate. As bitter as hate is, so sweet is love, and as
harmful and pestilent as hate is, so useful is love. And as evil and bitter the
fruits of hate are, so good and sweet are the fruits of love.
Hate is bitter both to the hateful and to others.
Love is sweet to both the lover and the beloved. Hate devours and binds the
heart. Love looses and broadens the heart. Hate kills; love gives life. He that
lives in hate is dead, he that abides in love is alive. Hate makes sorrowful.
Love consoles, makes glad and joyful. Hate is hard and cruel. Love is soft and
tender. Hate is proud and haughty. Love is humble. Hate is merciless. Love is
merciful. Hate is impatient. Love is long-suffering.
Hate works evil. Love does not do evil but does
good. Hate is hateful and loathsome. Love is welcome and beloved by all. Hate
is condemned by all. Love is praised and extolled by all.
He that lives in hate is poor and wretched. He
that lives in love is blessed and happy. He that lives in hate is loathed by
God and man. God and man rejoice in him that lives in love. Hate is the seed of
the devil. Love is the seed of God. Wretched, then, and exceedingly poor is the
condition of hateful people, though they may be regarded as gods in the world.
Most blessed and comforting is the condition of hearts filled with love, though
they may be trampled down as dirt and scum. The former are outwardly beautiful,
but inwardly contemptible. The latter are outwardly contemptible but inwardly
sweet. The former glitter outwardly, but are dark and black within. The latter
are not outwardly comely, but inwardly they have everything. The former are
outwardly healthy, but rotten within. The latter are outwardly unpleasing, they
do not know how to speak prettily and smoothly, but inwardly they are healthy,
beautiful and pleasant. The former are like apples that are outwardly
beautiful, but within are bitter and wormy. The latter are like apples that are
not outwardly pleasing, but within are sweet and pleasant.
The former are an evil tree; the latter are a good
tree. A tree is known of its fruits (Mt. 12:33), the fruits are of the same
sort as the tree. But let us examine the fruits of love, that we may know love
by its works, as we know a tree by its fruits. For love is known by its works
and not by words.
Beloved Christians! If we had true love, then it
would take every unhappiness away from us, and it would bring us happiness. Our
cities, towns, villages, and homes would be a place of paradise, full of joy
and sweetness, for there is no love without this. If there were love among
people, we would not fear robbery, murder, violence and plunder, for love does
not do evil to its neighbor.
If there were love, there would be no theft,
robbery or other evils: love does not do evil to its neighbor. If there were
love, people would not touch the bed of their neighbor [commit adultery]: love
does not do evil to its neighbor. If there were love, people would not be
subject to slander, reproach, abuse, railing, dishonor, and other evils: love
does not do evil to its neighbor.
If there were love, people would not deceive us,
they would not entice, they would not lie to us: love does not do evil to its
neighbor. If there were love, we would have no need for places of judgement,
for there would be nothing for which to judge and to condemn, inasmuch as there
would be no evildoers or transgressors of the law. Trials were established for
the sake of transgression. The man who truly loves is free of judgement as well
as of sin.
If there were love we would not have any use for
guards, locks and safes for the purpose of safeguarding our possessions, for
they would not be in danger of robbers and thieves.
If there were love, people would not languish in
prison for debts, foreclosure, and default, love would not allow them to come
to this, "for love isÖ kind" (1 Cor. 13:4). If there were
love, people would not go about in rags and half-naked, love would clothe them,
for love is kind. If there were love, people would not wander about without
homes, for love would not let them come to this, but would have given them a
place of repose, "for love is kind." If there were love there
would be no poor or wretched. The love of the rich would have supplied their
If there were love, authorities would have no
complaint against their subjects or the subjects against their authorities
because authorities would have built up society and their subjects would be
obedient to them. For this reason pastors would have no complaint against the
people or the people against their pastors, masters against servants and
peasants or servants and peasants against their masters, parents against
children or children against parents, and so on.
If there were love among us, then it would stand for
us instead of a strong wall, against Turks and the rest of our adversaries, and
against all of our visible and invisible enemies. For where love is, there is
God Himself, the helper and defender of love.
O love, lovely and sweet love! Without love everything
is poor and miserable. With love everything is good and prosperous.
Now Christians love to live in rich homes, sit at
a rich table, dress in rich clothing, ride in rich carriages and horses, though
they may see the want and poverty of their neighbors. Hence it is evident that
they only love themselves, and not God or their neighbors. From this comes
every unhappiness, misfortune, and misery among people. Self-love is the cause
of all this. For this reason, God, Who loves man, provided for our happiness
and gave us this commandment, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as
thyself" (Mt. 22:39). That was at a time when Christians "were
of one heart and of one soul" (Acts 4:32). Now we see the opposite.
Now among Christians it is heart against heart and soul against soul; now all
have their lips full of love, or rather flattery, but very rarely is love in
anyone's heart. For already "because iniquity shall abound, the love of
many shall wax cold" (Mt. 24:12).
Christians, woe unto us without love! Where there
is no love there is no faith, for faith does not exist without love. Where
there is no faith, there is neither Christ nor salvation. Christians, we
confess God, Who is love. "Let us love one another that with one mind we may
confess, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit" (deaconís exclamation
during the Liturgy).
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