|Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes - Spiritual Nourishment for the Soul - March 2002||Last Modified March 3rd, 2002|
To Know God Is To Love Him
Let us begin with a great and fundamental truth: It is in knowing God that we begin to love Him. What follows from this truth is a question that should be like a trumpet-call to each of our hearts and minds: How well do I really know God? One thing we can be absolutely sure of - our loving God wants to save us, help us, and keep us by His grace. Our Loving God desires all of us to abide with Him in eternal life, and to behold His glory. It is not a distant thing, or a promise for some time long in the future. We can know the fullness of His glory now, as the Holy Spirit helps us to experience the reality of God, Who so tenderly covers and guards us with His wings. So now we can say that in knowing God, we learn about Him through the Holy Spirit. It is up to us, as believing Christians, to love our God, and to love one another. Now, we begin to know God by faithfully keeping His commandments, in the knowledge that He loves us, and that love always will exist even until the end of the world. What a blessing then, that through the Holy Spirit we have found our true Lord and God!
If we really want to know the Lord our God, then we must first humble ourselves, then be obedient and sober in all things. What kind of things am I speaking about at this time? Love truth! Once we begin to love truth, the Holy Spirit will dwell within us, making it crystal clear to our hearts and minds just how much we should love one another. As the Holy Spirit reveals that true Christian love towards each other, then that loves starts to become a reality in our lives and we now please our God. The more perfect this love for one another becomes, the more our perfect God will send us His love through the grace of the Holy Spirit. We have truly found our Lord God - and all because we have offered our love to Him, and to our brothers and sisters.
Then again, if we really want to know God, and to say we really love Him - not just with our lips but with our hearts - we must constantly, on a daily basis, fight against sin. In other words we must fear sin and its effects on our lives, fighting inwardly against it, and coming before our loving God with humility, offering our loving repentance. Such love for God must come from a loving, tender heart. As our hearts become tender and soft before Him, we begin to behold God with peace and with joy. What a blessed hour it now becomes for us all, because now man has not only the fullness of the love of God, but also the abundance of His grace. We now have perfect love as both the soul and the body understands that to behold our God is nothing else then to have love for Him, and for each other. If we look at the examples of the saints and the martyrs of our Orthodox Church, we notice that they too had the blessings of the Holy Spirit, Who gave them that same grace, enabling them to deal with every temptation with loving fortitude. When did you last read the life of a saint or martyr? I urge you to look at their lives and begin to see the great love they had for God, as they were able to know God and His love, which filled them with spiritual strength, and peace, and great joy as well.
Holy Great Lent begins this year in the Orthodox Church on March 18th. This period of time can be truly 'holy' for us all, since it is a time to contemplate our relationship both with God, and with our neighbors - whether they are our brothers and sisters in the faith or not. It is also a period of time for reflection on how we can grow in our knowledge of our God, as well as overcoming those evil ways in which we sometimes act and even live. We have a gentle God, we have a perfect God, and we have certainly learned that we have a loving God. Let us seize this opportunity spiritually, during Holy Great Lent, to learn more about our merciful Lord, Who is, and will be to the end, our joy and also certainly our gladness.
Les now persevere, as loving Christians, to get to know who God is, and give Him and each other our love, as in the end what shall be the reward for us all? Our God through the prayers of the Mother of God, the saints, and the martyrs, will surely lead us into His Kingdom, where each will behold His glory. Let us take the opportunity during Holy Great Lent to go to Church, to live up to the fasting period, and to contemplate going to Holy Confession, and as well to partake in the Holy Mysteries - Holy Communion. To know God is to love Him, and always to love each other. We can do it! We have now found God, all because of our love for Him, and His love for us, as well as our love for one another. Blessed indeed is the soul that loves God and his brother. Let us all love one another that we may confess the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Peace to your soul!
May you and your loved ones have a spiritually rewarding Holy Great Lent.
In order to enter Holy Great Lent the pious custom in the Orthodox Church is to ask one another for forgiveness, and so now in prostration before you humbly: Forgive Me!
Humbly In Christ Our Lord,
+Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
Content written/compiled by Reverend Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes.
(c)2002 Reverend Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes