Brother: How is love (or charity) acquired by men of understanding?
Old Man: True and pure love is the way of life, and the haven of promises, and the
treasure of faith, and the interpreter of the kingdom, and the herald of that which is
Brother: I do not know the power of the word.
Old Man: If a man loveth not God, he cannot believe in Him, and His promises are
not true to him, and he feareth not His judgment, and he followeth Him not. Now
because love is not in him, he cannot be free from iniquity, and await the life which
is promised, but he performeth at all times the plans of sin; and this happeneth
because the judgment of God is too exalted in his sight. Therefore, let us run after
love, wherewith the holy fathers have enriched themselves, for it is able to pay back
what is due to its nature and its God. This then is praise.
Brother: How does wisdom dwell in man?
Old Man: Now when a man hath gone forth to follow after God with a lowly mind,
grace bestoweth itself upon him, and his conduct becomes strengthened in the
spirit, and when he hateth the world he becomes sensible of the new conduct of the
new man, which is more exalted than the impurity of the human abode; and he
mediates in his mind on the humility of the rule of the life which is to come, and he
becomes a man of greater spiritual excellence.
Brother: How is love made known?
Old Man: By the fulfillment of works, and by spiritual care, and by the knowledge of
Brother: What are the works?
Old Man: The keeping of the commandments of the Lord with the purity of the inner
man, together with the labor of the outer man.
Brother: Is he who is destitute of work also destitute of love?
Old Man: It is impossible that he who is of God should not love, and it is impossible
for him that loveth not to work, and it is impossible to believe that he who teacheth
but worketh not is a true believer, for his tongue is the enemy of his action, and
though he speaketh life he is in subjection unto death.
Brother: And is he who is in this state free from retribution?
Old Man: Such a man who speaks the things of the spirit, and performs the things of
the body, and supplies his own wants, is not deprived of reward, but he is deprived
of the crown of light, because the guidance of the spirit refuses to rule him. END
from E. A. Wallis Budge, "The Paradise of the Holy Fathers," (Seattle: St. Nectarios
Press, 1984), pp. 262-263
|A Holy Conversation
Love and Works
We will join a group of fathers today who are entertaining
questions from young monks about the spiritual life. The
entire transcript is too long for one issue, so it will be run
serially until it is completed. This is Part I.