Protopresbyter Themistoklis Mourtzanos
In its quality, love is the likeness of God, insofar as this is possible for us, of course. As regards its action, it is inebriation of the soul. As regards its properties, it is the source of faith, a deep well of forbearance and a sea of humility’. (Saint John of the Ladder).
Love isn’t a priority for people today. Success, money, a share in the good things of civilization, the satisfaction of every desire, especially carnal ones, and recognition are the keys which interpret the dreams of many. Love requires an exodus from the self. Lives requires effort. Love requires an opening up to others and, at the same time, assistance from God, given that it’s an imitation of him. And who’s going to strive for something when it’s far from certain that there’ll be results, recognition and joy?
Love’s been replaced with material goods. Parents feel comfortable towards their children because they’ve given them whatever they wanted. They’ve helped them fill in their time. They’ve opened the way for them to think that the world owes them and that they’re the center of life. But how much truth have parents told their children about life and its meaning? How many times have they shown, with open arms, that what’s right and what’s wrong needs to be addressed? What values have they taught? How far have they helped them to feel that death is no tyrant for us and that, therefore, life should be principally about us; that we live truly when we don’t fear any ending. We don’t fear because we can always start again from the beginning, from our own perspective and progress, as Christ shows us.
Love is inebriation of the soul. It’s not inebriation of the body, which bears sensual pleasure as its fruit. It’s the soul which experiences the joy of communion with God, with other people; the joy which is the cross. Except that, through sacrifice, we experience the victory over the feeling that everything depends on us. We blossom not through a compromise with defeat but in the recognition that we battled. And the soul is inebriated, because it feels it’s following Christ. And at the same time it believes, forgives and is humbled. Because this is how genuine love is expressed: when you’re able to give without imposing any requirement to receive.
Can we forget love? Our culture reckons it’s done well. But dejected people, those who feel that something’s missing, show us that the truth lies at the source: when we feel that we’re images of God and are made to love him and to be loved, firstly by him and then by those who can. Instead, we choose the pleasing, the slapdash, the easy answer. That’s our right. But we become trapped if our perspective isn’t love. Love is open to the world. If you love, you love the creation, because our Creator is reflected in it. He who provides for us because he loves us. He opens his hand and all things are filled with goodness. In essence we want for nothing that we really need, even in the smallest details of our life.
Love is happiness. We should believe, experience and share this: that God is love.