Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes - Spiritual Nourishment for the Soul - May 2003   Last Modified May 11th, 2003

Icon of Our Lord Jesus Christ (At St. Catherine's Monastery Mt. Sinai) Icon of Our
Lord Jesus Christ
(At St. Catherine's Monastery Mt. Sinai)

Love Of God And Love Of Neighbor
by Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
Boise, Idaho, USA
May 2003

Love of our God, and love of our neighbor, brings us spiritual joy, and we behold the glory of the Lord our God. That is a deep and glorious spiritual truth, one that we should consider, learn, and keep safe in the depths of our hearts.

Let us make this clear: All of us who love our God should also love our neighbor, as our Lord is not only merciful to us but also to our neighbor. God forgives us as He forgives our neighbor, and God is merciful to us, as He is merciful to our neighbor. Whatever we may long for God to do for us - love, forgiveness, mercy - we can be sure He desires to bless our neighbor in exactly the same way.

As Christians we should love our neighbor and be merciful. We should never judge or spend our time trying to find fault with him or her. We should not gossip about them, which blackens our hearts and those who hear us. Nor should we look upon our neighbor with unkind eyes or in a spirit of superiority, because what results will be dismay and despondency for us (as we sow, so shall we reap) and - even more important - we shall have failed to show our neighbor the light and life of our Lord Christ dwelling in us.

So, if we have been unkind to our neighbor we should then seek forgiveness both of our neighbor and our Lord, and in His mercy He will forgive us. Humbling us before our neighbor in this way is hard thing to do, but it will surely result in our cleansing. Renewed, we will become a powerful witness to presence of our God with us. In such Christian humility we once again find the great mercy of our Lord God.

Each one of us knows what love is, and that love should always be directed towards our God and our neighbor. The way to know that God love us comes from the grace of the Holy Spirit Whom He has given to abide with us. Our Lord God is meek, merciful, kind and loving, He is also holy, mighty, and immortal. God loves us all the more when we are kind and merciful to our neighbor. Our Lord God rejoices all the more when we perform the duties of being a good Christian because our love for Him fills our hearts, charity flowing out towards our neighbor. At the time of judgment we shall have a sure and great defense through the evidence of this love.

As we have said, if we have been unkind to our neighbor then it is our Christian duty to seek out forgiveness. The soul knows and recognizes love as it indeed loves the Lord, and the delight of His love burns powerfully within us. Let us remember how the Holy Apostles were delighted to be in the presence of our Lord: 'Did not our heart burn within us?' God is present when we are kind, merciful, and loving towards our neighbor. When our neighbor knows we love them, they will recognize the true virtues of a Christian, and will find and seek peace with us.

The whole mind, heart, and soul that loves God and His neighbor finds spiritual peace, and we begin to feel the presence of our Lord in our lives. Our Lord will never abandon us, but it's we who abandon Him, at times forgetting how much He loves us and is merciful to us. Then command of our Savior Jesus Christ that we should love one another brings grace and strength to us, who are His servants and handmaidens.

Let us then humble ourselves, so that we may be worthy of the love of God, that our Lord in His mercy will grace us with the spirit of humility, and also become worthy of the Spirit of truth and love.

God loves us all, and pours out His love especially towards the soul that constantly seeks Him and lives as a true and a faithful Orthodox Christian. In His love we become rich and joyful in the Lord our true God.

The mercy and the love of our God are with you!

In the Love of His Glorious Resurrection
+Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
Who prays for you!
May 2003

Glory Be To God For All Things!
Content written/compiled by Reverend Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes.
(c)Reverend Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes