Orthodox America

  The Gift of Love

      God has many names, my brethren. The principal name of God is Love... We should first love God because He gave us such a large earth to live in, so many thousands of people. And He gave us plants, fountains, rivers, oceans, fish, birds, night and day, sky, stars, sun and moon,...But let us see this love Is this love perhaps faithful: is it complete or does it lack anything? We must understand it for ourselves. You, my fellow Christian, have a son, and I honor you and say your child is good, but I beat and despise him, I take his bread and eat it. What do you say, is this love? Love, it seems to me you are saying, is not that. And we, just as we love our God, we must love our brother, because it is natural to love our brother and unnatural not to love him, We must love our brother because we have one faith, one baptism; we receive the [same] holy Sacraments: we hope to enjoy the same paradise; we have one head, our Christ. My brethren, love has two characteristics, two qualities: one strengthens man toward the good and the other weakens him for the bad.

      I have bread to eat and I have [enough] to drink, but you don't. Love tells me: "Don't eat it alone and don't drink alone, but give also to your brother' I open my mouth to condemn you, to lie to you, but love deadens my mouth and I am silent. I stretch out my hand to take something of yours, but love won't allow me. You see, my brethren, what gifts love has?

-- St. Kosmos Aitolas