Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Time to Love, and a Time to Hate

When learning that [God's] nature is lovable, we tenderly embrace it and remain firm in our judgment about that which is beautiful and the consuming love directed to persons whom the great David admonished, "Oh sons of men, how long will your hearts be heavy?  Will you love vanity and seek falsehood" [Ps 4:2]?  We must love one thing alone, that which the law of the Decalogue speaks, "You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, soul, and mind" [Dt 6:5].  There is one object deserving of our hatred, the inventor of evil, the enemy our lives of whom the Law says, "You shall hate your enemy."  The love of God strengthens the person who loves, whereas a disposition towards evil brings destruction upon anyone who loves it.  Thus prophecy says "I will love you, Lord, my strength.  The Lord is my firm support, my refuge and my deliverer" [Ps 18:1-2].  On the other hand we read "He who loves iniquity hates his own soul.  [God] shall rain down snares upon sinners" [Ps 11:5-6].  Therefore the time to love God is one's whole life, and the time to be alienated from evil is also one's entire life.  Even a person who distances himself from loving God ever so slightly does not resemble him because he is separated from love.  The person outside God is necessarily outside the light because God is light [1 Jn 1.5]; he is not in the light, incorruptibility, and every good thought and deed belonging to God because the person not sharing these attributes partakes of their opposites and enters darkness, corruption, utter ruin, and death.

 Gregory of Nyssa, Eighth Homily on Ecclesiastes

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