Fr. Andreas Agathokleous
It can be readily understood that, when we get to know a person and our hearts combine, we are enthused at this and overjoyed. It’s the practical implementation of our reason for being, which consists in the image with which God has endowed us. This means that we can unite among ourselves in the same manner as the Triune God, Who is a communion of Persons, which is why ‘He is love’. On the other hand, when hearts grow cold and there’s no communication, we experience sadness and there’s no enthusiasm.
And yet there is another phenomenon which is far from unusual: no matter how taken we are with another person, a close relationship them, including a great deal of communication may gradually bring disappointment and distance. Why should this be so?
It’s important to understand that all of us, as children of the first Adam, have in our DNA the consequences of the fall, we have our imperfections. Nobody’s perfect, nobody’s life is sinless. We honor and praise the saints as ‘appliers of the Gospel’, as Saint Justin Popović puts it, and as loyal ‘friends of Christ’, because they cleaved with devotion to His words, but even they had their personal weaknesses and made their own mistakes, as people who were close to them have testified. In any case, according to the holy and wise Elder Epifanios Theodoropoulos ‘they weren’t saints because of that, but in spite of it’.
Recognition of the fact that both we and others have flaws in our character which make life difficult for us and for those around us and that ‘only Christ is without sin’ will made us tolerant and accommodating. Then we’ll enjoy our relationship with others for what it is, for the beauty that’s theirs and not for what they’re not, for the dark aspects of their existence.
Thus we make our way through life accompanied by people who are imperfect and sinful, as we are. And as we go, we discover the beautiful things in life, the potential that each person has, the talents which may be hidden because of their situation. As we do so, we rejoice at the creation of our great God, Who ‘made all things in wisdom’.
Even though the devil has intervened in creation through us people, confusing and spoiling the ‘very good’ things which left the hands of God the Creator, as God of Hosts and Love, He transforms disorder into sanctity and weaknesses into grace.
This is why, if you understand human imperfection and await with hope what may happen, repenting and struggling, you’ll continue to go forward with the person you liked so much and who gave you such joy. Then you’ll understand what Saint Paul meant in his hymn to love, when he says: ‘love is patient…it is not self-seeking… it always protects, always trusts, always hopes always perseveres. Love never fails (I Cor. 13, 1-13).
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