Among the greatest responsibilities which our faith places upon us is love for God. The Lord said: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and thy whole soul and thy whole mind: that is the first and foremost commandment. (Matt 22, 37-38)
Who is it that loves the Lord?
One who truly loves the Lord constantly remains faithful to God in all of life's circumstances, no matter what they are, sorrowful or joyful, pleasant or unpleasant. He thanks Him in fortune and misfortune and says with contrition in his heart: "Glory be to God for all things that happen to me according to Thy will, Lord, for all is for my benefit." One who truly loves God follows His commandments and glorifies His name with one's own life. Such a one is ready to sacrifice all for the Lord, even his very life, and to endure all for the faithfulness to His teaching from the sense of gratitude for all the good things received.
Do we love the Lord in such a way that no sorrows can shake that love? May God grant that all of us would have such love.
In word we are ready to sacrifice everything to God, yet in deed, when the proof of our self-sacrifice is needed, we become uneasy, uncertain if impediments arise. In order to avoid an uncomfortable situation or not to make enemies, we give up without a fight. Yet that is not characteristic of a steady and strong love towards the Lord! It is courageous, sure as death, unshakeable as the Truth of God.
Who does not love the Lord?
One who does not attempt to know Him, what He has done for us and what He wants and requires of us.
One who does not try to fulfill His commandments, to follow His example, to liken himself to Him in thought, in behavior, and in deeds. One does not love the Lord who does not like to think of Him, to meditate upon His life, who does not account for one's behaviour before Him.
One who who does not love the Lord does not love to hear His word, left to us in the Holy Gospel and proclaimed by the pastors of the Church.
One who does not love the Lord has no love for His Holy Church, founded by Him, does not partake of the Holy Mysteries, who denies them, as ones who have denounced the faith.
One does not love the Lord who does not want to be deprived of temporary benefits or to endure criticism and persecution from the world.
One does not love the Lord does not await His glorious coming, does not place his hope on promises given by Him, preferring worldly, superficial hopes instead.
Translated by Maria Naumenko from Pastyrskiye Besedy s Det'mi, Moscow 1997 (reprinted from a 1901 edition).
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