Let yourself be persecuted, but do not persecute. Be crucified, but do not crucify. Be slandered, but do not slander. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep: such is the sign of purity. Suffer with the sick. Be afflicted with sinners. Exult with those who repent. Be the friend of all, but in your spirit remain alone. Be a partaker of the sufferings of all, but keep your body chaste. Rebuke no one, revile no one, not even those who live very wickedly. Spread your cloak over those who fall into sin, each and every one, and shield them. And if you cannot take the fault on yourself and accept punishment in their place, do not destroy their character.
God is not One who requites evil, but who sets evil right.
Paradise is the love of God, wherein is the enjoyment of all blessedness.
The person who lives in love reaps the fruit of life from God — while yet in this world — even now breathes the air of the resurrection.
In love did God bring the world into existence; in love is God going to bring it to that wondrous transformed state, and in love will the world be swallowed up in the great mystery of the One who has performed all these things; in love will the whole course of the governance of creation be finally comprised.
God’s recompense to sinners is that, instead of a just recompense, God rewards them with resurrection” (Adapted from Hilarion Alfeyev, The Spiritual World of Isaac the Syrian (Cistercian Studies 175), Kalamazoo: Cistercian Publications, 2000.).
Today Father Stephen remarked in his sermon that Christianity is not a safe faith. Reading this quote from St. Isaac most definitely confirms that!
To cultivate a relationship with God is to die to one’s self and to be filled with the spirit of Christ. It is to become low as Christ was made low (Phil. 2:6-11).
This is not easy!
It is not a path most willing choose!
This is not possible without the grace of God and the faith of Christ.
We aren’t merely to imitate Christ, but to become one with Him via cruciform theosis. Reaping the fruit of life from God means we crucify ourselves daily with Christ. St. Paul says in Gal. 2:20:
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
It is through carrying our Crosses daily that we reap this fruit. We wake up and die to ourselves everyday to enjoy communion with Christ as He unites us to Him in His death.
It is through this, through the faith of Christ, that will be breath the air of resurrection.
May the harvest of our lives yield much fruit, my friends, and may Christ have mercy on us.