"If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you."
Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor)
THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST is one thing, and faith in him is another. Love is a passion to which spirits, hearts, consciences and emotions are bound. The love of Christ is an exodus from oneself, for no one can love himself and love another with a pure and passionate love and at the same time love Christ. The love of Christ is fasting from the world with all its distractions and possessions. This is what Paul the Apostle said. God chose him while he was zealously imprisoning the sons of Christ and dragging women to prison and stoning. As he was on his way Christ met him, put a stop to his insanity and struck him blind. Paul asked him, “Who are you, Lord?” He replied, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”1 Immediately Christ entered Paul’s heart, Christ became everything to Paul, and he loved him with a love that made him forget himself and all his works. When the ties of love grew strong he made his well-known statement, “The world has been crucified to me, and I to the world,”2 meaning he died to the world and the world died in his eyes. Paul lived the life of those passionate for Christ and all his works, so the Lord met him and reciprocated his love, and he preached Christ throughout the world. Paul’s love became a testimony, and this was Christ’s purpose for which he died on the cross. He sacrificed himself on the cross, pouring out his blood to the last drop. His one goal was to bind his spirit together with every one who accepts and believes in him, which is self-sacrifice for self-sacrifice.
The two do not equal each other, for Christ’s self-sacrifice includes all the souls of the generations of man from the beginning to the end of time. Yet the mystery of Christ’s sacrifice is that one soul is seen equal to the soul of Christ, for as we said previously in the deity there is no addition, separation, quantity or division. Christ considers the soul of any sinner equal to his own soul. Thus, frightening and unlimited is the theological weight of Christ’s sacrifice. It is capable of powerful and authoritative redemption, and it gravely requires each person to take it in account. So what is known and must truly be made known is that Christ died for each sinner no matter how small, despised or weak. Redemption is the mystery of the deity at work in each soul to the same degree with which it is at work in any other soul.
1 Acts 9:5.
2 Gal 6:14.
3 John 14:21.
For this reason Christ established a different standard which reveals the exalted meaning of redemption: For him who loves Christ and keeps his commands, Christ asks the Father to pour out upon him the Holy Spirit and to stay with him forever, keeping, protecting, helping and revealing truth. The Holy Spirit is foreign to the world, for the world of man does not know him and is ignorant of his work. Man must take pride in the work of the Holy Spirit and depend upon him to comfort, strengthen, deliver, reveal truth and make known the unknown. These are all qualities of which the world is not aware.
The mystery of the love of Christ is in keeping and doing Christ’s commands. The love of Christ is the most precious and greatest work a man can do: “He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”3 Christ will not reveal himself except to his chosen, those who love, who give up everything for his love and keeping his commands.
July 28, 2005
On Constant Prayer
When the Spirit dwells in a person, from the moment in which that person has become prayer, he never leaves him. For the Spirit himself never ceases to pray in him. Whether the person is asleep or awake, prayer never from then on departs from his soul. Whether he is eating or drinking or sleeping or whatever else he is doing, even in deepest sleep, the fragrance of prayer rises without effort in his heart. Prayer never again deserts him. At every moment of his life, even when it appears to stop, it is secretly at work in him continuously. One of the Fathers, the bearers of Christ, says that prayer is the silence of the pure. For their thoughts are divine motions. The movements of the heart and the intellect that have been purified are the voices full of sweetness with which such people never cease to sing in secret to the hidden God.
St Isaac of Nineveh Ascetic Treatises, 85
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