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Love (As Christians Should Love)

“…love is to be actively expressed through tangible behavior. Hence when Saint Luke quotes Deuteronomy 6:5 [you shall love the Lord our God from your whole heart, from your whole soul, and from your whole power], the passage serves as the prelude to the parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:25-37) – a story that demonstrates how love for God is to be expressed to others in a tangible way. Crucial to a correct application of the Shema and the great commandment to love is the verse the follows: “These words I command you today shall be in your heart and in your soul” (Dt 6:6). The logic of God’s word dictates that “the love of God without obedience is not love”…God surely expects us to act upon His commands. Thus the Lord is requiring from us a heart-centered, continuous awareness of His commandments. If the love of God is truly established within our hearts and souls, it will surely lead us to obey God’s commandment to love your neighbor as yourself (Lv 19:18; Lk 10:27).” (Dynamis 6/22/2022)

“We don’t often think of love as work, but that’s precisely what real love is…love is not only an act of will but a skill to be developed….Love is what love does. We do not send away our loved ones so we can learn how to love them. Love is hands-on, on-the-job training. We improve love through the work and practice of love. We develop love through service. We love those whom we serve….Love is not an emotional noun in Jesus’ teaching but an action verb. We are to initiate love towards others, not just react to them.” (Richard Paul Evans, Fr. Ted Bobosh)

“Our society holds that things like faith and sin are private things. Our relationship with God is no one’s business but our own. However…we are responsible for one another. The apostle calls us “Holy Brethren” (Hebrews 3:1). Accordingly, we are a sacred fellowship who share in a “heavenly calling” (OSB Hebrews 3:1)…Therefore, whether each of us is tender-hearted or hard-hearted, whether we are faithful or unfaithful, affects everyone else. Consequently, in our community of faith and love, we have the right (and duty) to look out for one another not only in our physical but our spiritual welfare. If we should encourage one another, we should also exhort one another. However, the individualism of our society has so influenced our churches that most of us do not know how to do this. We have a lot to learn about how to give and receive the support…” (Fr. Basil)

“So how is community built? The answer is very simple. What we like to call building community can take place only when we recognize that true community only exists in God. Our job is to enter into it—to enter into His life and make the life, love and energy that are the heart of the Trinity our own life, love and energy. We cannot build true, Christian community by beginning with human plans and agendas for what we and other people are going to do. We have to learn to pray—prayer that is more than just liturgical worship, although it certainly includes that, but is also our daily and hourly heartfelt cry to God to have mercy on us sinners and to bring us into the life of Jesus Christ.” (Mother Raphaela)

“Our love must always be demonstrated both in respectful speech and in generous service to others.” (St. Gregory the Great)

“Christian love includes a willingness at times to suffer for the good of others. Self-sacrifice, denying one’s self to take up the cross and follow Christ who freely sacrificed Himself for the salvation of the world is part of what is expected of Christians as we imitate our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ. This is not part of the American prosperity gospel, but is found in the New Testament.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)

 “When a person truly loves Christ, he cannot but help to love all people — simultaneously. One loves them without asking them if they are worthy of such love, even if they deny this offering outright and reject it. Christian love … is an unselfish love: sacrificial, kenotic, without boundaries and limits, and without discrimination. It is love that does not seek reciprocation or acceptance. It does not seek approval, praise, or recognition…Christian love is, preeminently, self-sacrificial love, so-called agapic love, that ideally is not motivated by the expectation of reciprocation.” (St. Porphyrios of Kafsokalyvia, Vigen Guroian)

“The commandments to love God and neighbor are found in the law of Moses…In the new “Christian love is not a sentiment or an emotion; Christian love is an act of the will, a virtue. Christian love is a gift of God’s grace, but we must make the effort to exercise that gift of grace. We must love God, and we must love one another. If we do that we shall live according to the law of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” (Bishop Basil Losten)

“The commandments to love God and neighbor are found in the law of Moses…In the new covenant Church of Christ, however, there is a “new commandment” (1 Jn 2.8)…The new element is that believers in Christ must love as Christ Himself loves. The new commandment is to love “as I have loved you.”…Christian love must be the perfect love of Christ Himself which is wholly divine. Christian love must be the totally self-emptying love of the Lord Himself. It must be the divine love of God the Father poured into men’s hearts by the very Spirit of God. It must be the love that is absolutely faithful, perfect, eternal and divine. Of all the men who ever lived on this earth, or whoever will live, only one has fully fulfilled the two great commandments of God; only one has lived absolutely and perfectly according to God’s laws; only one has loved the Father with all of His heart, mind, soul, and strength, and His neighbor as Himself. This is Jesus Christ, the child of Mary according to the flesh.” (Fr. Thomas Hopko)

“Our primary ethical obligation as Christians is to love one another as Christ loved us. We have the gift of Holy Tradition, including scripture and the lives of the saints, to guide us in understanding what this means in our daily lives. Christian love calls for charity and almsgiving…Christian love calls for sacrificial giving…Christians love extends to strangers…Christian love calls us to respect, protect, and preserve our bodies and those of others…” (Ana S. Iltis, Ph.D)

“Our mission to the world is simple: to love all regardless of who or what they identify themselves as. We may rightly ask, What is love? Is it affirmation or acceptance? Is it blind affection? No. Love is selflessness. It is to seek and do what is best for the other, what God would have us do. It is to become a sacrifice for the sake of the other, rooted in an ascetical self-denial.” (Rev. Fr. Joshua Lucas)

“…the beauty of God’s love can illumine all and transform those willing to receive it. A love so great transcends the boundaries of culture and politics, uniting a Christian not only to her neighbors, but to “every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev 5:9)….“In the Scriptures, it is often said that Christ died for the whole world; when we limit the person of Christ, when we bring him down to the level of nationalities, we immediately lose everything and fall into darkness”...To love as Christ does is to love all without exception—in spite of themselves.” (Rev. Fr. Joshua Lucas, Saint Sophrony of Essex)

“Loving God means, above all else, devotion to worship, but also to prayer, to almsgiving, to praising Him, to seeking Him in all parts of our life, dedicating all of it to Him…We are likewise called to love and honor other people. If the demons seek to destroy and to pit humans against one another, God’s faithful angelic beings do the opposite. They build up, reconcile, and unite. We are called in the gospel to live as they do.” (Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick)

“Contrary to what some may teach, the Christian faith is not fundamentally about justice or punishment or wrath for sinners. Instead, it magnifies the infinite and holy love of Christ, Who will stop at nothing to bring the one lost sheep back into the fold, Who is not embarrassed to welcome home the prodigal son, and Who will even submit to death on a cross in order to destroy death by His glorious resurrection. His salvation is not a reward for having a life with no difficulties or scandals, for such a life would be a fantasy in the world as we know it. To the contrary, those who had suffered illness, poverty, isolation, and the severe consequences of their own sins were most receptive to the good news of Christ during His earthly ministry. It was precisely their humility that opened their hearts to Him.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)

“The Prophet Micah tells us that what the Lord requires of us day to day is that we “do justice, and love mercy, and be ready to walk humbly with the Lord.” We are not only to be merciful, but we are to love mercy. Mercy is to be our default mode of thinking and acting. It should bring us joy to be merciful—to show mercy to those around us, even if they don’t deserve it, for that is what we also ask from God for ourselves. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5:7). If we want God’s mercy, we have to be merciful to those around us. Remember Christ’s parable of the unforgiving servant who after showing no mercy to a fellow servant has to pay his full debt to his forgiving and merciful master.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)


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