If we view the entire two-thousand-year history of
Christianity, we can see the endless wealth of achievements of Christian
culture. Enormous libraries, filled with the great works of human minds and
spirits. A great number of academies, universities, institutes, where hundreds
of thousands of young people approach the banks of this great ocean, sometimes
with baited breath and pounding hearts, thankful for the fortune and joy given
to them, in other cases with a burning enthusiasm, so that they feel no need to
sleep or care for themselves, and drink greedily of the living waters of
wisdom. Tens of thousands of beautiful temples, magnificent creations of human
genius. Uncounted precious creations of other forms of art: music, art,
sculpture, poetry. And much else besides. And the Elder ignores this and sees
only one thing: humility and love of one’s enemies — this is all there is.
As wise and learned and fine-looking as a person
may be, if he does not love his enemies, i.e. any other person, he cannot reach
God. And the opposite is also true, however simple a person may be, and poor
and ignorant, but if he carries within himself that love, then "he is with
God and God is with him." The Elder maintained that it was impossible to
love one’s enemies outside of the One True God. The carrier of such love is a
participant in eternal life, and he carries within himself an undeniable
witness of this. He is the abode of the Holy Spirit, and knows the Father and
the Son through the Holy Spirit, knows them with a true and life-giving
knowledge, and in the Holy Spirit he is a brother and friend of Jesus Christ,
he is the son of God, and close to God in grace.
The Lord condensed all the law and prophets into
two brief commandments (Matthew 22:40). And during the last supper, before His
path to death on the cross, said to the Apostles, "There is no greater
love but that a man lay down his life for his friends," adding, "You
are My friends... I call you friends because I have told you all that I have
heard from My Father" (John 15:13-15). Thus in these few words was said everything.
And without them all the laws, prophets, cultures, are nothing.
In order to remain in the love of God, it is
necessary that anger and "hate" be multiplied to their limits, but
they must be directed at the sin that lives inside me, at the evil that acts
within me, within me, not within my brother.
All the energy of the struggle with cosmic evil is
contained in the deep heart of the Christian, even as externally he — as Christ
commanded — "must not resist evil" (Matthew 5:39).
Elder Siluan walked the earth, labored with his
hands, and lived among people as a simple human, but nobody except God ever