Part 1. To love – to wish good to another
At the end of last year, the Publishing House of the Sretensky Monastery published a book, Let God speak, a collection of conversations and letters from Greek confessors. We offer our readers a fragment of this book – articles by Archimandrite Andrew (Konanos; genus. 1970).
Father Andrei is a famous preacher who for many years conducted the program “Invisible Transitions” (“Αθέατα περάσματα”) on the radio of the Piraeus Metropolis. To give lectures on the spiritual problems of our time, on the Christian life, he is invited to many cities in Greece, Cyprus and the USA; His radio talk texts are published by the leading Orthodox websites of different countries, published in separate collections.
Love, which is depleted in our world and misunderstood, is one of the main topics of the lectures and conversations of Archimandrite Andrew.
To love – to wish good to another
To each his own. What I don’t like, doesn’t necessarily please anyone. And vice versa: it’s not at all a fact that what I like is sure to please you. Therefore, we have the right of free choice: what to listen to, what program, what to love, what kind of music to listen to. We are not able to change others. Is not it?
But there is something that should unite all of us, despite these differences, different views and differences from each other. This is Love. And let it not run out in our souls. May love always be between us and, as if uniting a brace, hold us together. Then we will not feel antagonism in anything. We will not be at enmity with anyone for any reason in this life. After all, we share a common pain and a common enemy: death. And a common desire for life, resurrection, happiness and joy. We all, people, in the deepest sense, are interconnected through these fundamental concepts.
Let’s love each other, even though we are different. Everyone has their own character. But what did Christ say? “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). He did not say, for example: this way everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you all listen to the same music, if you all have the same views or live the same way. Each of us has our own character: you have one, I have another. After all, during the Divine Liturgy, everyone prays in his own way: your soul is rejoicing, mine is touched, and everyone experiences prayer in his own way. Is not it? But we all feel love during the Liturgy. “By this everyone will know,” says Christ, “that you are My disciples, if you have love among yourself.” This is the hardest. The most difficult thing is to save love.
This is the most difficult thing to love. It’s a feat
But as? How can you love if you do not learn before? It’s hard to love. You like? Love. You keep in mind those you love and say: “I love him, I love her, I have a weakness for this or that person, I will die for that …” And this is considered love. All this we call one word – love. To say truly “I love you” is very difficult. This is a feat.
Love is the top. She is an overcoming, and not something everyday and ordinary. Somewhere I read about the elder, hegumen of the monastery. In the monastery they prepared for the ordination of one of the monks. He was already ordained a deacon. On the day of the consecration, the igumen went outside the monastery gates and waited for the honored guest, the metropolitan, who was about to attend the celebration, and other invited officials. Past igumen in the monastery included a lot of people. Simple believers, monks and others. The next day, when it was all over, the hegumen gathered a brethren and said:
– I, my dear fathers, need to leave you for a while. I have to leave to see myself better.
“Why should you leave us?” We love you so much!
– Yes, but yesterday I realized something.
“What did you realize,” they asked, “gerond?”
– When I stood at the gate and waited for guests arriving for consecration, I noticed that if a nameless person came in, a certain official, I could feel my hands getting wet with excitement. When simple pilgrims came in, my hands remained dry, as usual. I reacted differently to different people.
“Yes,” they said, “but what is there about this?” Isn’t it natural?
“It may be natural for you, but I, your shepherd, should already have learned to love everyone in my life in the same way. And feel equally comfortable with everyone. To love everyone and not be afraid of anyone, not to shake before one and not be brave with others. I must be like the heart of God, dwell in God. Therefore, I will leave for a while in order to better look at myself. Here, among domestic affairs and management, I have forgotten how to look inward.
And he temporarily left the monastery to look at himself, to find answers to the questions: does he love? and what does he like? Is it transparent to everyone? Is he sincere with everyone? Is it open to all?
“Love” sometimes means “I feel the need for you”. And then this is not love
For example, you say: I love. But love sometimes means I feel the need for you. And then this is not love for love. Yes, indeed, we need some people. But this does not mean that we love them. To love is to desire the good of the one whom you love. Take care of him. If I see that he can succeed in something, I wish him success, even if it is “unprofitable” to me.
Think of this: “I want my child to grow, because I love him, and I don’t care where he goes for that. Let him go to study in any country of the world, if he wants. After all, I love him and wish him good. And since its good is to spread its wings and fly away from me, I will treat this step with respect. Because I love him. But I will miss him so much! My eyes will not see him, my hands will not touch him, will not caress, will not embrace. My little bloke, my child, will not be near me. ”
When you truly love, you first of all think about the one you love, about his welfare. It’s difficult. Here is what a young man told me. His father really wanted his son to go to university. He wanted this for the good of the son (as he believed). He told him: “I want you to act. I love you my boy. We tell you this for your own good, we worry about you. ” And the young man answered: “Well, don’t I do what I can? I do. I will try to. I will do my best. ” He tried, poor fellow, prepared, but in the end fell through. I failed. And his father is in a fit of anger (because when we are angry, sometimes we open our true face and lay out what we really feel, show who we really are), says to him: “All right, write is gone! You will be a loser in life. Tomorrow I will go to work and what will I say to those whose children have been admitted? The daughter of a colleague in the office entered. How will I see them tomorrow and say that you failed? ”The son accepted his message:“ My father always said that he loved me, and now my value was leveled in his eyes. As soon as I did not enter, he informed me that he did not love me. I’ve cut myself off, and he already compares me with a colleague’s daughter and reproaches that he will be ashamed of me at work tomorrow. ”
But does love make the conditions ?! “I love you if you enter”, “I love you if you do not make me blush.” “Well, okay to you,” you say, “we still love our child, do not exaggerate.” Yes, but did you see what he said? “How will I show my eyes to the neighbors tomorrow?” What will I say to people? How do I show the true face of my family? And I will say that my son has not acted this year? ”And, in fact, what happened? Does the value of a person really come from whether he has acted, whether he has a diploma? Is it really necessary to have a capacity for sciences in order to love a person? No, my darling. I love a person, whatever he does, as the Lord loves us.
I asked one child: “When you commit a sin, how do you feel God?” And the child answered: “I feel that He looks at me with surprise, regret and is angry with me.” Someone else said, I feel that God will punish me. And the saints said: When we sin and when we sin in our lives, we felt that God embraces us even warmer, even hotter, with more love, because then we needed Him more strongly.
God loves His every creation. Always, not just when we live virtuously
God loves His every creation. He loves you too, He loves me too. Not only when we live virtuously, but also when we do not live well, we make mistakes and fall.
Even when you become a prodigal son, and then God loves you. You then have value in His eyes, not because you are good or bad, but because you are the creation of His love, the creation of His hands. You have value and walk along the path on which you fight and fight. And God does not judge you for this, because He knows that what you are today is just a moment, a certain stage in your life, or maybe a test that you overcome and try to correct. You are failing. But God still loves you. You are like a canvas on which Christ looks and sees how you strive to co-operate with His grace, take His brush and paint His face in your heart, the face of God, the face of Christ’s love. But you can not. You make mistakes: here you paint a canvas, here you erase a daub, here you turn everything upside down. And what does the Lord say? “I am waiting for the finished picture at the end. I’m not in a hurry. I know that you were wrong today. But I know that your canvas is still in the process of creation, and I do not draw any conclusions about you. I respect you. I am not comparing you with anyone, says God. – I do not remind you that I have saints, angels and archangels, that the Mother of God is next to Me, having an amazing soul and a most beautiful heart. I do not reproach you, I do not say: and you, well, why are you so yes kind of? ”No. God doesn’t say that. He does not compare us. He loves everyone.
So the Lord loves us. Because it sees that we are people and we try to slowly look like Him and acquire love from His love, life from His life, light from His light. And He knows it and knows us. Therefore, He loves us. When you do not love a person, you can say that you do not know him. Who knows what really happens to another person, he loves him. The one who knows that “the other is not my enemy, and even if he is an enemy, then the fault is in me” will love him, this person. You will love the one that caused you unbearable pain, which hurt you, if you realize that the problem is not in it and not in it, but in your inner state, which is not yet cured. This is an open wound, which you have not yet overgrown. This is your pain, which has not yet subsided.
We have no enemies. There is no such enemy on whom it is worth wasting energy and hating him. There is no such enemy in this world. If you look into the life of the one who caused you great evil, and try to answer, how and why he did it, what were his motivations, how he felt, what his childhood years were, why he came to such a trait, you will see that he is not your enemy and not your opponent.
Therefore, Christ says: Do not be afraid of someone who can tempt you externally, for no one will tempt your soul. No one can harm you. When you feel that someone has hurt you, and you hate him for it, in fact, he did not hurt you. But something else in you is wrong, something else tempts you.
In moments of anger, ask God: “God, but this person, whom I hate, Do you also hate?”
In these moments ask God:
– My God, but this man, whom I hate, Do you hate too?
And Christ will tell you:
– Not. I forgave him. On Calvary. But not only then, and now I forgive everyone and love everyone.
– But how is this, Lord? How can you love him?
And God will answer you:
– I see other things, those that you, my child, have not yet made out. I see that he suffers a lot. I see that he did this to you, not because he is bad, but because he himself is afraid and defended.
– But how is it – afraid, my God? He did so much evil to me … You know how much he caused me suffering. I lost a place because of him. He took revenge on me, went to the courts …
“Yes,” says the Lord, “but believe me, if you could see the fear of his soul, the confusion of his heart, the restlessness of his conscience, you would not hate him.” You would love him. You would feel in yourself what is called charity. He, my child, needs your love. He needs support, not revenge. Learn to revenge the way God revenges you. He does not revenge, but always responds with love, and it disarms.
Even the one you do not digest is worthy of your kindness and forgiveness. No bad understand
Understand, even the one you do not digest is worthy of your kindness and forgiveness. The only thing: we are insincere. And instead of showing our wounds, we often do nasty things. But there are no bad ones, understand. Enough to click on the corresponding key in the soul of a scoundrel, and from it you hear the melody of love. It seems you are pressing the wrong key. And so comes the cacophony, heard hysterical voices, abuse, taunts. But inside this person there is a wondrous world that we have not yet been able to reveal, to make so that it becomes visible to people around. I know it is difficult. It is difficult, because we ourselves have not experienced great love in our lives. I offer you to love another, and you say: “How can I love him! After all, I myself have not experienced great love in my life. ” And so most of us: we have replaced love with our personal needs.
One guy said words to me that made a strong impression on me:
– I love one girl, I respect her, I admire her and really want to be with her.
– And what are you doing for this? – I asked him.
– Nothing. She will never know about my feelings.
– Because she loves another. And since I really love her, I don’t tell her anything about my feelings and I will never invade her life. Now we are finishing university, and I wanted to get closer to her, talk to her, offer to start a family. But when I realized that she was thinking of something else, I left her alone. I love her and therefore do not talk to her. I love her and therefore avoid.
This is called love! Think of the good of the one you love. And since, in this case, it is good not to wrest the heart, to respect the particular way that a person wishes to go, love leads you to do unbelievable things, turn your love into a tear, a pearl, a pain which gives living water and is washed by your grace by Divine grace. And let it seem that you do not show your love and do not show it, but in fact your love becomes deeper. You become an extremely receptive and authentic person, poetic and honest. And one day it will be rewarded. Without a doubt!
Let God say: From the conversations of the Greek spiritual fathers / Trans. with Novogrech. Alexandra Nikiforova. M .: Sretensky Monastery, 2015