Thursday, March 29, 2012

“His suffering love has a creative effect upon me” – Kallistos Ware

Concluding Bishop Kallistos Ware's teaching on the Passion of Christ from The Orthodox Way

Love and hatred are not merely subjective feelings, affecting the inward universe of those who experience them, but they are also objective forces, altering the world outside ourselves. By loving or hating another, I cause the other in some measure to become that which I see in him or her. Not for myself alone, but for the lives of all around me, my love is creative, just as my hatred is destructive. And if this is true of my love, it is true to an incomparably greater extent of Christ's love. 

The victory of his suffering love upon the Cross does not merely set me an example, showing me what I myself may achieve if by my own efforts I imitate him. Much more than this, his suffering love has a creative effect upon me, transforming my own heart and will, releasing me from bondage, making me whole, rendering it possible for me to love in a way that would lie altogether beyond my powers, had I not first been loved by him. Because in love he has identified himself with me, his victory is my victory. And so Christ's death upon the Cross is truly, as the Liturgy of St Basil describes it, a "life-creating death". 

. . . the Crucifixion is to be understood as the supreme and perfect victory, sacrifice and example. And in each case the victory, sacrifice and example is that of suffering love. So we see in the Cross the perfect victory of loving humility over hatred and fear; the perfect sacrifice or voluntary self-offering of loving compassion; the perfect example of love's creative power. In the words of Julian of Norwich: 

"Wouldst thou learn thy Lord's meaning in this thing. Learn it well: Love was his meaning. Who showed it thee? Love. What showed he thee? Love. Wherefore showed it he? For Love. Hold thou therein and thou shalt learn and know more in the same. But thou shalt never know nor learn therein other thing without end ... Then said our good Lord Jesus Christ: Art thou well pleased that I suffered for thee? 1 said: Yea, good Lord. I thank thee: Yea, good Lord, blessed mayst thou be. Then said Jesus, our kind Lord: If thou art pleased. I am pleased: it is a joy, a bliss, an endless satisfying to me that ever I suffered Passion for thee; and if l might suffer more, I would suffer more." 


Anonymous said...

Love/Hate. Joy/Sadness....All from the same source as the outward expressions from God.

As we can give and learn as much by suffering for His name as we can by giving love. As He is beyond our feeble minds thoughts and actions. He sees the complete picture and understands our dance and our folly in His divine plan.

To think that we do not know how to think and understand Him is the first step in acceptance.
To think otherwise is arrogance. To accept is humility...+++

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