Monday, July 26, 2010

The man who does not love his enemies

The Holy Spirit teaches us to love our enemies, so that the soul pities them as if they were her own children. There are people who desire the destruction, the torment in hell-fire of their enemies, or the enemies of the Church. They think like this because they have not learned divine love from the Holy Spirit, for he who has learned the love of God will shed tears for the whole world.

You say that So-and-so is an evil-doer and may he burn in hell fire. But I ask you — supposing God were to give you a fair place in paradise, and you saw burning in the fire the man on whom you had wished the tortures of hell, even then would you really not feel pity for him, whoever he might be, an enemy of the Church even? Or is it that you have a heart of steel? But there is no place for steel in paradise. Paradise has need of humility and the love of Christ, which pities all men. The grace of God is not in the man who does not love his enemies.

O merciful Lord, by Thy Holy Spirit teach us to love our enemies, and to pray for them with tears.
O Lord, send down Thy Holy Spirit on earth that all nations may know Thee, and learn Thy love.

O Lord, as Thou Thyself didst pray for Thine enemies, so teach us, too by Thy Holy Spirit, to love our enemies.
O Lord, all peoples are the work of Thy hands; turn them from enmity and malice to repentance, that all my know Thy love.

O Lord, Thou didst command us to love our enemies, but it is hard for us sinners, if Thy grace be not with us.
O Lord, pour down Thy grace upon the earth. Let all the nations of the earth come to know Thy love; to know that Thou lovest us with a mother’s love,
and more than a mother’s love for even a mother may be forgetful of her children,
but Thou forgettest never, because Thy love for Thy creation is boundless, and love cannot forget.

O merciful Lord, by the riches of Thy mercy
save all peoples.

St. Silouan the Athonite