Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Great Lent: Light, Fire and Flame. If You Think You Can Go It Alone
Light, Fire and Flame
Love in its nature makes a human being like God, as far as is possible for a human being. The soul is intoxicated by the effects of it. Its characteristics are a fountain of faith, an abyss of patience, an ocean of humility.
Love is the complete repudiation of any unkind thought about one’s neighbour, since, ‘Love thinks no evil.’ (1 Cor. 13:5]
Love, unchangeable tranquility and our adoption as children of God are different from each other only in name. As light, fire and flame are present in the selfsame operation, so are these three manifestations of the Spirit.
When someone is completely permeated with the love of God, the brightness of his soul is reflected by his whole personality as if in a mirror.
Therefore, the one who loves God also loves his brother or sister. Indeed, the second love is the proof of the first.
Stairway to Paradise, 30 (PG88, n56)
If You Think You Can Go It Alone
If anyone claims to be able to be completely self-sufficient, to be capable of reaching perfection without anyone else’s help, to succeed in plumbing the depths of Scripture entirely unaided, he is behaving just like someone trying to practice the trade of a carpenter without touching wood. The Apostle would say to such: ‘It is not the hearers of the Law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the Law who will be justified.’ [Rom. 2:13]
Our Lord, in loving each human being right to the end, did not limit himself to teaching us in words. In order to give us an exact and telling example of humility in the perfection of love, he put on an apron and washed the disciples’ feet.
So what about you, living entirely on your own? Whose feet will you wash? Whom will you follow to take the lowest place in humility? To whom will you offer brotherly service? How, in the home of a solitary, can you taste the joy that is evident where many live together?
The spiritual field of battle, the sure way of inner advancement, continual practice in the keeping of the commandments, this is what you will find in a community. It has the glory of God as its aim, in accordance with the word of the Lord Jesus: ‘Let your light so shine before your fellows that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.’ [Matt. 5:16]
What is more, community preserves that particular characteristic of the saints which is referred to in the Scriptures thus: ‘All who believed were together and had all things in common.’ [Acts 2:44] ‘The company of those who believed were of one heart and soul and no one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had everything in common.’ [Acts 4:32]
Basil the Great
The Greater Rules, 7 (PG31, 933)
~ Thomas Spidlik, Drinking from the Hidden Fountain, A Patristic Breviary: Ancient Wisdom for Today’s World