Love from the Life-Giving Tomb

St. Elizabeth the Wonderworker of Constantinople

St. Elizabeth the Wonderworker of Constantinople

My beloved spiritual children in  Our Risen Lord, Redeemer, God and Only True Savior,

By Metropolitan of Nafpaktos, Hierotheos (Source: "The Science of Spiritual Medicine".Orthodox Psychotherapy in Action)

"The whole therapeutic method of the Orthodox Church is not aimed simply at making human beings morally and socially balanced, but re-establishing their relationship with God and one another. This comes about through the healing of the soul's wounds and the cure of the passions through the Sacraments and the Church's ascetic practice."

Love is the peaceful atmosphere of the Cross. Love is the radiance of the Cross. He who is crucified, who is freed from the passions, really loves and has true life within him. This love is an expression of the resurrection that comes from voluntary crucifixion. We often think that the end of life is zero. But the opposite happens. Just as in mathematics there are other numbers below zero: -1, -2 and so on, so below the Cross there is another life. And it can be said with certainty that this life below the zero of human failure is the true life. We should realize that this love comes directly from eternity, from Hades that received the Risen Christ. Who transmits the eternal Light.

The blessed Elder also transmitted this love. It was a crucified and risen love, not merely sentimental but purely spiritual. The love that comes out of the Life-giving Tomb is authentic. At this moment I recall two characteristic features of his crucified love.

Firstly, it was noble. The ever-blessed Elder possessed nobility of love. A man of noble birth does not need to resort to strategies in order to gain authority, and does not fear in case he loses it, because it is securely in his possession, and it is the same with noble love. It is afraid of nothing. When someone has been put to death and is dead, he is afraid of no one. Everyone respects him. Even those who do not respect him and steal from him instead, those who commit sacrilege, receive a blessing. They say that a Turk who took the sock of Saint George the New Martyr became rich.

The man possessed by nobility of love fears nobody and blesses everybody. Light illuminates everything. No darkness can conceal it. The light of the sun can penetrate the clouds and create illumination and joy. The same happens with the person who is voluntarily crucified. Noble love fears no one. It is not miserly. It gives unstintingly. It respects the freedom of all human beings. It enlightens them without burning them. Even if it burns them, it produces gold: the other person is changed for the better. Noble love seeks no recompense. It does not know how to wait but it knows how to offer. Noble love does not simply offer in return, but makes the first move towards the other person. Love takes human failure and makes it glory. It turns Hell into Paradise. Noble love resembles the love of Christ. "God espoused unto Himself the nature which had played the harlot", says Saint John Chrysostom.

Christ showed noble love by taking human nature that had prostituted itself. Noble love is not legalistic but therapeutic. As Christ, according to Saint John Chrysostom, "came as a Physician, not as a Judge", so the man who possesses this noble love heals. He loves even when he is hated. Noble love develops a keen sense of honor. It does not hold sway through coercion and laws but by developing a sense of self-respect. Such love overcomes death. The blessed and venerable Elder had this noble love. He possessed nobility of love. He was born to love. He was an expert on the subject of love. For that reason he easily forgot and forgave.

The other distinguishing feature of love is that it tempers human intelligence. In other words, someone who truly loves does not was to see mistakes, pass judgments or understand things. He does not want his rational faculty to work at high speed. I often ascertained this fact in the life of the blessed Elder. I knew that he had many gifts on the human level. He was highly intelligent. He was capable, if he so wished, of passing correct judgment on things, of perceiving the other person's basic problems, or rebuking his hypocrisy or falsehood. But his love was greater and tempered his natural abilities. Thus on many occasions he did not want to understand certain simple things which, as an intelligent person, he could easily grasp. I realize, however, that this is true intelligence. Worldly intelligence is different from intelligence according to God. The intelligent person love, even if he is not loved. He wages war on worldly evil with love and forgetfulness of wrongs.

It is usually easy for an intelligent person to discern other people's characteristics and analyze their personalities. He can remember things they did all his life long. The person who truly loves, however, cannot discern someone else's wrongdoing or treachery or hostility, but erases everything bad that his brother has done and remembers his good points. He goes even further. He not only overlooks the bad elements, but regards the unpleasant aspects of his brother's character as good! He transfers his natural gift of intelligence to another level and uses it to gain God's mercy. By means of love he changes all laws into spiritual laws. He sees and hears with other faculties of perception.

Real love does even more. It does not attempt to display itself to others. Godly intelligence makes the person who loves conceal himself all the time. He puts into practice what Saint John Climacus says, "Do not wish to assure everyone in words of your love for them, but rather ask God to show them your love without words." The person who truly loves asks God Himself to reveal this love "without words." What the worldly person regards as stupidity is intelligence according to God.

I saw these two distinguishing features combined in the personality of the ever-memorable Elder. He had genuine love that knew how to feel pain, to suffer, to be perceptive, to forget, to transcend natural intelligence, to put someone to death while at the same time bringing him to life. Thus he lived like an Angel on earth, because "Whoever loves God lives an Angelic life on earth." For that reason he had boldness before God. Abba (Father) Pambo said to Abba Theodore, "Theodore, Go, Be merciful to everyone. Mercy has found boldness before God." He had such love towards God and man that he was found worthy to cast a demon out of a young man.

(Please note: The Elder is the ever-memorable Metropolitan Kallinikos of Edessa.)




Glory Be To GOD For All Things!


With sincere agape in Our Risen Lord Jesus Christ,"
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George