Saturday, September 6, 2008

Cultivating Love

This is the response my friend Angela received when she wrote to Metropolitan Anthony and asked him the question we had both been discussing: how is it our love for Christ is so small, so meagre, so deficient?

Dear Angela,

Ill-health and pressure of work have prevented me from answering your letter sooner; I am sorry for the delay.

What you feel is what everyone who loves God and Christ however little feels. But remember the words of the Psalm read in the service of preparation for Communion: “What reward shall I give unto the Lord for all the benefits that He hath done unto me? I will receive the cup of salvation and call upon the Name of the Lord… son of Thy handmaiden; Thou hast broken my bonds asunder. I will offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving, I will call upon the Name of the Lord.”

The “little sister” of Love is Gratitude, simple, joyful, warm, trustful. Nurse this little sister in your heart – she is love, although not yet the resplendent Burning Bush of Love, which Saints attain to. The greatest joy one can give a Giver is to receive and accept His gifts openheartedly, joyfully, at times even forgotten to say thank you at once, too completely absorbed in the Joy of a love so tender, so perfectly understanding. Be joyfully grateful and you will discover that love unfolds itself in you, because Love is Communion, community of life, with God. Do not try to “surrender all your life to God” or do what is beyond you at present; God does not expect you to be now what He knows you will be later; be who you are whole-heartedly, as a child who knows that she is not expected to be older than her years – were you ever ashamed of playing with dolls while your father read big, dull, compact newspapers, or your mother or older sister or brother a book, a “dull book without pictures or dialogues”, to put it in the words of Alice in Wonderland? Be a free, happy child and grow under God’s care!

May God and the Mother of God be with you always.

Sincerely yours,

Metropolitan of Sourozh


William Weedon said...

One knows when one hears it how absolutely right and true the Metropolitan's words. Thank you so much for sharing that!

William Weedon said...

P.S. A typo: Bonds, not bones, I believe.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Truth tends to be like that.

Oh, yes, bonds, of course; thank you.