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Love (Without Love)

“Jesus urges us to “give to the poor” (Mt 19:21) and to lay down our lives for others (Jn 15:13). But even such a selfless act done without love profits us nothing.” (Orthodox Study Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:3)

“We should constantly seek opportunities to minister to others physically and spiritually…our charitable acts must flow from a sense of authentic Christian philanthropy, because without love, almsgiving is like “a flower lacking beauty and fragrance.” The loves typified in the connected cross cannot be separated. Our goal as…Christians should not be to advance secular values through cold social justice but rather to become sources of light fueled by divine compassion. When parishes or metropolises create philanthropic outreach opportunities based in a love for God and an authentic love for humankind, the Lord’s commandment is fulfilled, the faithful are spiritually strengthened, communities are improved…” (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, Archimandrite Ephraim (Moraitis) of Philotheou)

“…the struggle against the passions must be a daily battle…This quest to defeat the passions is impossible without love, for a loveless heart desires nothing beyond supporting its own ego. The Lord told His disciples of the impossibility of loving God, Whom we have not seen, if we do not first love our neighbor…we focus on self-love, and the battle against the passions remains dormant. Unless we seek out God’s redemptive grace, we have no hope of letting love consume our hearts, and we remain locked in the darkness of sickness and death. It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit, and the accompanying acquisition of a humble and contrite heart, that love gains the upper hand, and our struggle against self-will finds victory…Love is the key to holiness, and comes only to those who struggle.” (Abbot Tryphon)

“Love does not always have to be emotional. People are different, and how each person feels and experiences love can be different…love always requires a certain attention, a certain focus, a certain intentionality and devotion of the mind and heart. I cannot say I am loving someone by doing some act of kindness for them if my principle thought before, during and after the action is how I will benefit in some way from the action. Sure it’s always good to be kind. It is good to have a habit of kindness even if it is not really motivated by love, but we should not fool ourselves (and we cannot fool God). To give hoping to receive, to act kindly out of a sense of mere social obligation, to give so that I can get, this is not love.” (Fr. Michael Gillis)

“Unfortunately, it’s possible to go through all the motions of religion without love for God and neighbor. It’s possible to miss the point entirely and to become a self-righteous, legalistic judge of others. But that’s to miss the point entirely, for we fast, pray, come to Church, and lead upright lives not in order to impress God or other people. Instead, in humility and repentance, we want Christ to train our souls, to shape our lives in His image. The point is not simply to follow a bunch of laws, but to grow in love for God and neighbor through the worship and way of life taught by the Body of Christ, the Church, by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)

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