Christian Love … Where today is it?
How troubling it is today when we go to the shopping mall, or to the local grocery store, even when we visit a local Orthodox or Roman Catholic Church, even in the halls of schools, colleges, universities and further, in the halls of various of Caesar’s government (City, County, State and Federal) - - - there is a cold-heartedness among the people, even among the clergy and like. What is happening?
The fine thin veil of indifference is masking that which today claims to be a ‘love’ in Jesus Christ for one’s fellow man… We see the barriers of ‘ethnicity’ blocking the doors of the Churches and the politics of priests and clergy here in the U.S.A. blocking the doors for burial of those who are not Roman, but Orthodox, even when they were baptized ‘Roman’ in their youth. And, it would seem the same is true of Orthodox Catholics of various 'ethnic' jurisdictions as regard other 'Orthodox' and those of the 'Roman' jurisdiction of the Catholic Church.
The ideal of ‘love’ as Jesus Christ gave is and has been reinterpreted to a kind of love that is cold-hearted, thinly veiled with rhetoric or words by which all those of different denominations, even heretics, should be accepted for praying and worshiping together, even those of Islam which altogether is a violation of that handed down over centuries by the our early Holy Fathers. The very face of ‘Christendom’ today is taking on a new face, a new and different value or morality as seen in the entertainment mentality of those who operated with a flow-chart mentality. The evidence is all around us, if we but stop and see the landscape of the human heart in action. Many have forget or were never taught the truth of their Christian heritage, that Christianity itself comes down and through that which is not a 'denomination' but is truly Orthodox Catholic Christianity regardless of the jurisdiction, until recent times when the flavor of Orthodox Catholic Christianity is changing.
Many of the heretics who claim to be ‘christian’ have presented a theatrical style of ‘love’ which is a false love not bound up in and with gospel truth although they make arguments to such. We see their presentations in what they believe is good entertainment for children to view while using their so-called “c”hurches as one uses a theater for entertainment which produce a psychological means for mass hypnosis of sorts to sway the people into false hopes, dreams and ideas far removed from the reality of the kind of ‘love’ that Jesus Christ and His Holy Apostles gave the people over 2,000 years ago.
The so-called ‘love’ being touted as “Christian” in these times comes from a “Denomination” yes…. “Denomination” which purports itself as being a part of “Christianity” … True Christianity, as it was practiced and believed in by true faithful, never ever swayed from the ancient tenets of the faith prior to the Roman Jurisdiction’s schism (separation) from the roots… in 1054 A.D. (the politics of which began in the 800’s A.D.) … The Religion, the true Christian Religion is based and planted, root and branch, in that which today has become known as the Orthodox Catholic Christian faith under various jurisdictional names (ie: Russian Orthodox, Syro-chaldean Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, American Orthodox and others).
However, may it also be noted that the bag and baggage of denominational carpet-baggers who are the false wolves under the nomenclature of ‘Pentecostalism,’ ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses,’ ‘Mormanism,’ ‘Church of Christ’ and numerous others… are the vehicle by which the Roman Jurisdiction is being and has been infected, along now with some of the Orthodox Catholic jurisdictions. The Evil being spread under guise of being moral and morality is wiping out standards of morality that our fathers and grandfathers loved and practiced and adhered to in spirit and truth. There are various articles posted at http://www.apostle1.com which tell a true story and provide a more in-depth picture of what is happening. It is necessary to be able to read some or all of them in order to put the pieces of the puzzle together as to what is and has been happening in slow but articulate degrees and with such cunning degrees which is bringing about the destruction of the true faith, the Christian Religion which is cutting deep into its very roots.
Here are just a two examples of what we are talking about in part: Is the Pope Really a Catholic? and Is Christianity Collapsing? A theological evaluation regarding T.B.N. and its so-called ministers! Along with its Part II -Is Christianity Collapsing? These examples are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg about why children are becoming more ‘foul-mouthed’ – committing suicide, killing each other, misusing and abusing their bodies, drugs and alcohol and why many families are incapable and unable to practice, teach and provide their children with such that equips them to thwart many evils today.
There are some who have left Christianity altogether and converted to Islam which is a worse evil than they are aware of… for reasons also explained in other articles at http:www.apostle1.com. These ‘converts’ to Islam is an example of the fact that the temples of worship in Christianity or those who call themselves, their places of worship ‘Church’ are not teaching from the roots of Christianity, but weakening the faith with dilutions of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Weakening of what it means to not only be “Christian” in spirit and truth, but provide true values based on Christian Love. But to have that, one must know and understand what it really is.
Therefore those who are having problems in their homes, their families, in the schools and higher institutions of learning are weak in their faith and not able to be firm as true strugglers in the faith out of pain of heart. Even for lent they have missed the mark of what it means and what the Resurrection of Jesus Christ has done for them… Read: Lent 2006 Message.
Our society is becoming one of an entertainment mentality where everything that ‘feels’ good is pretty much accepted. While some educated families say it isn’t happening to them, just look at the elite schools, colleges and universities where star pupils, football players, frat houses, etc. are become more corrupt with rape, beatings, and such other conduct unbecoming to them, their families and the institutions they attend. Even public elementary and high schools have become targets of such actions and activities. There is no ‘love’ because the understanding of ‘love’ even ‘Christian love’ has become stunted and perverted beyond measure by the likes of those mentioned in those articles. Yet, thousands, even millions are following those wolves in sheep’s clothing who are the perverters of true Christianity.
No one jurisdiction is exempt from this. Old Catholics (Old Catholic Benedictine Communities), Reformed Catholics, Roman Catholics and more. Even many of the “Orthodox” are affected and infected as are those already named jurisdictions.
So, one can only ask, what is true and real ‘Christian Love’?
What is its Misuse and Misunderstanding? What is the Real Content of Love? What is the Christian concept of Love? What are the characteristics of ‘Love’ and in ‘Love’? What is the most excellent way?
+Joseph Thaddeus, OSB, SSJt., Ph.D.
Metropolitan Archbishop, Archabbot, Primate
Love – Its Misuse and Misinterpretation
Society today is interwoven with varied opinions and values of life which are, in many instances, misunderstood and misapplied. There are various streams of thought and certain groups who use words and phrases which are forced to apply to their concepts of thinking and ideas. The most misinterpreted and misused word is the word love. It is apparent that the theory and practices of some individuals and groups in our society today who use words, phrases and slogans of love do not convey its real meaning, and are used out of context. These individuals and groups, supposedly in the name of love for other people, hate the "establishment"; in the name of love they refuse to work within the structure of society; in the name of love for others they riot against and destroy the very means by which the "establishment" can be improved; they destroy and set afire the tools which they could use to correct the wrongs of the past. In the name of this supposed love they intend to destroy everything in order to create a new society which they fail to articulate or have any knowledge of; they hate the painstaking development of the principles and standards of society. Love supposedly is used to create a new morality, abandoning the moral standards and principles of goodness in society. In the name of love they use drugs and narcotics to bring them artificial pleasure during which they exploit the natural and innate instinct of sex. The word, love, is used so loosely and out of context today that it signifies to them anything other than its real meaning and content.
It is true that in past centuries, as well as today, love has been exploited by individuals and groups, but it always was found that this kind of love was wrong and needed correction and refinement. Love in the past had an ideal to reach, progressing, refining, upgrading itself through the years in the expression of concern for all peoples. Love was not a monolithic monument; it was, and still is, a power and force by which society is shaped to the benefit of everyone. This means that the ideal state of love has not yet been completed or reached, but is always a pursuit of man and society. This love always has an optimistic goal for all of mankind; it is not pessimistic in character. The use of the word love by many today outside its real meaning and context creates a "pandora's box," full of naive and misguided wishful thinking. The phrase, "I love you" used by the "flower children" and "hippies" has no meaning whatsoever, for it is not enough to say, "I love you." The word,
love, here is an empty expression, for it lacks the substance of action for the benefit of the person to whom it is said. Use of the word, love, in this manner, betrays all its values and principles by making it a mere word or slogan. It is not enough just to shout the word, love, or to paint it on placards used in demonstrations of protest, whatever the reason may be. The meaning of this word, love, is perverted today. Its meaning is so different from the true meaning of love; the word is the same, but the content is different. Here lies the crux of the problem: the semantics of the word, love.
THE REAL CONTENT OF LOVE
What is the real meaning of the word, love, which is so widely used today? The word love is defined as not only a strong liking but an ardent attachment, with reference to persons or things that arouse the deeper or higher emotions. The real meaning of the word, love, is lost today primarily because it is used for trivial things. For example, "I love candy," or "I love to go to the theatre." It replaces the words, like and enjoy. The word, love, is top often used for the word, like, for things which are merely pleasing, but evoke no great warmth of feeling or desire. The word, love, if often used for the word, enjoy. This habitual use of the word, love, to express other feelings minimizes the real potential of love in its true sense. Love is the carrier of the highest emotion inherent in man, which is above and beyond mere liking. Moreover, the true meaning of love is interwoven with sacrifice in the sense of denying oneself for the sake of someone or something else. In the expression of love, sacrifice is made of something highly desirable or in itself of great value for the sake of another person, ideal or goal. Love without sacrifice is not an expression of self-denial for the sake of a loved one or ideal. Love in this sense is a mere sentiment without its real meaning. Therefore, the habitual use of the word, love, in our society is distorting its real content through misuse and misguidance.
The basic meaning of love is understood primarily in relationships between persons. Love is in its very nature the expression of an ardent attachment through the highest human emotion; it is expressed in its best quality through devotion, loyalty, intimate knowledge and responsibility. Love, however, is not merely an emotion as such, but is the total quality of the relationship between persons. Love can also be classed as a sentiment or a passion possessing deep enthusiasm.
Passion, as such, is not only an organized emotion, but it is also an organized desire with instinctive impulses for a person or for an ideal. When it is a passion of love, it is something very different from mere passionate emotion. When it is a passion of love, it is a system of organized emotions and desires which by its very characteristic is stable, regulative and has a sound reasoning. For the normal development of love and fundamental condition is that there shall be joy in the object to which it is directed. If love has this joy, the rest will follow very easily. If this joy does not exist, love is doomed to fail. The feeling and expression of joy is spontaneous and vital and may become the basic expression of love. The development of love needs to have joy as its prime essential. The emotion of joy attaches itself to the object and not to the subject, and it is not self-centered. The development of love includes sorrow, not only joy. Joy and sorrow work together in the strengthening of the passion of love. Sorrow is in reality a search and longing for a lost joy. Love, on the other hand, is more than just joy and sorrow, for it is the full and all-embracing passion.
However, true and abiding love, in its highest and deepest meaning, is divine in character, its manifestation and its expression towards one's fellow man. This content of divine love is found in the Christian concept. It is this divine concept of love that is the foundation upon which "depend all the law and the prophets." The foundation is the profound, divine declaration: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with 'all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39f).
The Christian Concept of Love
The Christian concept of love is a unique expression of reaching for and approaching the Supreme Being, as stated profoundly in Scripture: "God is love." God, as the Source of love, possesses great mercy and compassion. Out of love God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to save mankind. Out of love Christ humiliated Himself and even died on the Cross to atone for man's sins. Out of love Christ offers "fallen" man a second chance to attain salvation through His Church. Out of love God offers everlasting life to those who obey His commandments, accepting them as His heirs. This is supreme love, a love for man whom He created, even though he disobeyed Him through arrogance. The tender mercies of God for man whom He created are over all His great works. Out of this first love of God for man, man reflects in turn his love for God and for his fellow man. Love is the center of Christian living. The spirit of love unites persons in an ideal society, for through love man seeks the good of all. The Christian concept that God is love is the basis on which human society is reconstructed as a place in which people live in peace and harmony. In society love, as the bond of perfectness, is the weapon to overcome the fatal power of evil and hatred, which cause division among the people. This ideal of society can be reached only by knowledge of God; the knowledge of God, in turn, can be attained only through love. God reveals Himself to those who walk in His footsteps in the path of humble service to their neighbor.
The profound message that permeates Scripture revolves around the love of God and the love of man. Apostle Paul especially exemplifies this love. Paul refers to various divine gifts used in the early Christian Church, harmonizing their purpose and placing them in an orderly function. Specifically Paul refers to the golden virtue as the key to Christian revelation and life, an "excellent way" by which the believer is illuminated and guided. This "most excellent way" is love. It is Christian love as a bond of unity among people that creates the Church. All other divine gifts and virtues fall within this bond of unity, Christian love. This love sustains the fellowship, one with another and both with Jesus Christ, the Life of the Church. There are various spiritual gifts and various backgrounds and customs among Christians, but they are bound in unity by the power of love. This power of love is the most excellent way of keeping the Church of Christ united. The divine gift of speaking in various tongues — languages concerned with sacred things — was considered a great gift. But in many ways it was dangerous. This is shown in the gift of eloquence which many times is misleading. Needed was a power to direct those "tongues" in which "the love of Christ controls us," 2 Corinthians 5:14. Without this gift of love, the speaker is but noisy, lacking meaning and substance. Also the gifts of prophesy and even faith, which were held in great esteem, were of little value when love of the prophet or the man of faith was lacking. Lack of love in the prophet makes him a false prophet, as it is stated: "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name . . . I (Christ said) never knew you," Matthew 7:23. Loveless faith and loveless prophesy wrought on Christian history the most tragic events. It is a false act which is frequently repeated today, as witnessed by the tragic state society is in.
Without supreme Christian love, any sacrifice of material wealth or even of the body is meaningless and gains nothing. It is love that gives its meaning and value to any spiritual gift. It is the love of Christ that gives validity to any sacrifice for God and neighbor. If there is no such motive of pure love of God and man, there is no gain or benefit of any kind. Even a martyr's death with eagerness and pride is in vain without pure love in the eyes of God. The early Christian martyrs faced the lions in the arena and endured the flames at the stake through sheer love of Christ and His Gospel. This spirit of love for either God or for neighbor is not evident today. Christians today are not able to give of themselves or to rid themselves of the ill-pleasures of society which are causing the decay and corruption of Christian moral standards. This decay and corruption of life today exists because of the lack of the pure love of God and neighbor.
CHARACTERISTICS OF CHRISTIAN LOVE
The practical aspect of the spirit of Christian love is manifest in Christian fellowship. Love has manifold characteristics in its application to life. It is expressed both in positive and negative ways, indicating how love works in its application. The first characteristic of Christian love is that it is patient and kind; it suffers long. These characteristics of love remind the Christian of some aspects of the Sermon on the Mount; as it mirrors what Christ taught His disciples, especially in the Beatitudes. Christ echos the forgiveness of enemies, prayers for persecutors, generosity to those who at times may make unreasonable demands and love for those who may have hatred for others, because Christ Himself applied these very characteristics of love, patience and kindness. Patience depicts the "long-suffering of God," because His nature is love, compassionate and merciful. This supreme love of God is especially shown in the history of the Jewish people, despite their rebellious attitude. Despite all their iniquities and breaking of His laws, God delivered them from Egypt, and unfailingly provided for them in their desert wanderings. Time after time the Jewish people forsook Him and worshipped idols. Yet, God remains patient for His chosen people. God's love is such that He never forsakes those whom He has made His own. Today's society, rebelling against moral and ethical standards, is testing the patience of God. The outgrowth of this patience is kindness, expressed in goodness and love for neighbor. Patience and kindness are bound in Christian love, and go hand in hand.
Christian love is not jealous or boastful. Jealousy is a sinful feeling which corrupts the human spirit and infects personal relationships. It infects the spirit of man, breeding hatred and strife. Only Christian love is pure, enduring differences and circumstances. Only the spirit of love can overcome jealousy and boastfulness, becoming the hope for unity of the spirit of man. It disciplines one to accept the successes and gifts of others. Demonstrating that love is not jealous is the fact that its values are spiritual and not material. Jealousy is a selfish weakness which mirrors one's attention on himself. Christian love is not only unselfish, but sacrificial in nature, as Christ said: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:12-13). This unselfish and sacrificial love enriches the life of the Christian and the community in which he lives as well as penetrating the communities of the world. Boastfulness has the same connotation as jealousy, but with the deadly sins of pride and conceit.
The opposite of boastfulness is the humble attitude. This is demonstrated by Christ, Who said: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3). Boastfulness is an outward attitude of the unchristian spirit, whereas jealousy is an inward attitude. The boastful loves to draw attention to himself, showing pride of his position, but the truly great never indulge in showing off. In the spirit of Christian love, one should express Christ, not himself, in life and service. The greatness of love is its humility. The showing of pride and conceit is a mark of inner uncertainty and instability, indicating a feeling of inferiority. Using ones gifts and qualities to draw attention of oneself nullifies them. Jealousy and boastfulness are the opposite of Christian love, because love is modest and humble. Christ's love glorifies all true service to others with humbleness and without acknowledgment.
Christian love is neither arrogant nor rude. Many Christians show arrogance in their social status, wealth and position, separating themselves from the others by associating only with those of equal status. If Christian love were truly practiced, we would lose self-assertiveness with its accompanying rudeness. We would learn to prefer our fellow man before ourselves. This kind of love engenders honor and courtesy. With this kind of love, home and family are secure. This attitude would be reflected not only in the home but in society at large, being an antidote to the disorder in the world today. Such Christian love develops gentleness and manners which help to eliminate rudeness, arrogance and evil forces, both national and international. Christian love is not only courteous, but trustworthy; it quenches anxiety and fear. Christian leaders and gentlemen are needed in all walks of life: in the home, in society and in the world at large. If Christian love is paramount among the leaders of the nations, they will set guidelines for all who come within their jurisdiction. This rule of wise judgment is part of the Christian mission to the peoples of the world. First however, comes the home, where much is to be done. Many church meetings and gatherings as well would be stimulated and inspired by common relationships if those in attendance would acknowledge that love is not arrogant or rude.
Love does not insist on having its own way. Arrogant, boastful, rude persons reveal self-centeredness by insisting on having their own way. This self-assertiveness usually disturbs the fellowship not only of church meetings and gatherings, but of society at large. This self-centeredness attacks life in many areas by permeating literature and the religious sphere as well. Many prayers and hymns are self-centered, focusing attention on the person himself. However, Christian love is not self-centered; nor insists on having its own way. Love gives rather than receives; it seeks not its own way, but everyone's. The seeking of the good of everyone is the Christian way. Here lies the very substance of Christian love: the constant giving. Christ exemplifies this spirit of love in His own life, the giving to others in His works, grace and salvation. By nature human life is self-centered, it seeks its own interest and benefit. However, through repentance, the changing of mind, and the grace of God man became God-centered, an imitator of Christ. The Christian centers his life in God, for "God is love" (1 John 4:8). God, as such, is the foundation of all lesser loves. Where love is God is, and that love is profoundly revealed in Christ, Who loves man and gave Himself for all men.
Love is not irritable or resentful, nor rejoices over wrong. Irritability or resentment are not elements of love, for they infect love. They have poisoned with much bitterness many homes and families, and have broken friendships and relationships. They produce sarcasm and ill-temper. The irritable spirit usually will give way to discipline, not only for those of fierce temperament but for all who show and practice the spirit of love in Christ. Resentfulness usually goes with irritability, though not all who are irritated at something are resentful. Resentfulness harbors many wrongs committed against someone. It is necessary to blot out the wrongs inflicted on one: so doing is a God-like thing. This is exactly what God Himself does to the sinner who sincerely confesses his sins. Christian love does not rejoice at wrong, taking no pleasure in gossip or scandal. It is never glad when something goes wrong for someone else. Many in the Christian Church itself receive an un-Christian pleasure in the failures and misfortunes of others. This rejoicing at wrong for others is evidence of false moral superiority on the part of those who indulge in it. This vice is far removed from the spirit of Christian love, which takes no delight in scandal or at failures of others. Christian love rejoices only in the right, which encourages goodness and is eager to believe in the best.
THE POSITIVE QUALITIES OF LOVE
Pure Christian love possesses positive qualities. This love works through persons inspired and guided by Christ Himself, Whom God "has put all things under his feet and has made him the end of all things for the church, which is the body, the fullness of him who fills all in all" (Ephesians 1:22-23). The Christian with this love in his total person says: "I can do all things in him (Christ) who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13). This dynamic love is ex-, pressed by those who believe "that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God" (Eph. 3:17-19). Such love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. This kind of love implies restraint and endurance against wrong. But more so, that love carries a burden and even the blame for the wrong itself. Such love embodies the love of Christ crucified.
A Christian love working in the fellowship of man brings forth the mind and spirit of Christ. It bears the iniquities of man and society as Christ: "has borne all our griefs and carried our sorrows" (Isaiah 53:4). This Christian love that endures, bears, believes and hopes all things is the foundation upon which the Christian finds peace and harmony. Such a love, bearing and enduring all the difficulties of life, never ends. There is no end to the love that is in Christ. Here is the unfailing power that is given to the believer in Jesus Christ and His Church. It is a mutual love; God bestows it on man, and, in turn, man shows his love for God, which overflows in his love for his fellow man. God bestows His love on those who love Him "having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end" (John 13:1). If this unfailing love was practiced today by Christians, most of the ills of our society would not exist. The only way that society today can correct its ills is for all Christians to keep God in their hearts and minds in everything they do. This love can bring about the overthrow of poverty, misery, crime and all the weaknesses and corruption in society.
Christian gifts are given freely to the faithful, who have a certain value and a certain need to serve. Prophesy, for instance, is highly esteemed in Christianity, but it was given to serve a certain period of time and for certain circumstances. Prophesies have a certain link with faith. The time will come when prophesy will be fulfilled, thus prophesy will come to an end, for there will be no need for it. Yet love will abide, for love is the nature and name of God. Another gift to the Church is that of tongues, ecstatic utterances. This gift was not understood by the people — especially the individuals who had this gift, and placed too much emphasis on it. Though the gift of tongues was held in great esteem, the gift itself has no future in the Church, because it cannot be justified on the basis that it elevated those who spoke or those who heard. This was bound to vanish from the life of the Church, but love remains an everlasting necessity. Still another gift is knowledge, the systematic development of theology and doctrines. Though there are basic doctrinal teachings — the core of faith — which remain unchangeable, their development and form is not permanent, but always expanding. The knowledge of theology is not the substance of faith, but its form. Therefore, knowledge has no permanent value in comparison to love, which remains forever.
All things may vanish — riches, fame, prophesy, knowledge — but love is eternal in God and in man. Love links the earthly life with the life hereafter. If life were understood in this context love as the predominant force in everyone's life would take on a new meaning, creating a paradise on earth. This love will fail if something is lacking, if it is incomplete, not genuine. If Christian love is not tempered by common sense and discretion, it becomes mere sentimentality. For example, this sentimentality is seen in over-protective parents. The Christian Gospel is a Gospel of love, not sentimentality; it is a fellowship of love, for its message is that "God is love." As such, love is the foundation of all civilization. This distinction is important, because on it Christianity depends. Love is constructive; love is needed in successful marriage and true parenthood. If this genuine Christian love prevailed today, it would be reflected in society which would not be infested with the existing turmoil and disorder. On this basis of Christian love the standards of life depend and flourish.
It is in the nature of life and in the destiny of human beings to search and seek diligently the truth, to reach for the perfect and direct truth. It is also well-known through the experience of life that man cannot reach a higher level of his inquiry, only the imperfect and the indirect. The gifts of prophesy or knowledge were relative in character and in purpose, because of man's limitation and his finite mind. Though man cannot reach this high level of knowledge, he has the ability to think of and desire this level of reality. Reality should appear in order to be known. The problem lies in the fact that there is a great difference between reality and appearance, reality as it is and as it appears. As such, knowledge and prophesy are only partial and imperfect. The imperfection of man and his inability to attain perfection become the stimuli for him to continue to search and seek. The more man seeks and searches for the truth, the more mysterious it becomes. Every scholar and believer is only a seeker of the truth, never reaching the perfect and the absolute. Inasmuch as the perfect and the absolute cannot be achieved, the great gift of love should prevail ' as the leading power in the affairs between men. It is unchristian to abuse others with different thoughts or beliefs. Hatred toward those peoples who do not believe as we believe indicates we are not possessors of the great gift of love and do not realize that we deal with imperfection and partial knowledge.
The truth and majesty of God is dim and blurred because of man's partial knowledge. It is not knowledge that man will have when he is face to face with God; it is merely knowledge in part. From the beginning of time man has cried out, "Oh, that I knew where I might find him (God)" (Job. 23:3). Through the centuries God has revealed Himself to man through the universe and prophesy and especially in the Person of Jesus Christ. Yet, all these revelations have not been fully understood by man because of his limitations and finite mind. Christ, knowing this human limitation, said: "I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now" (John 16:12). Therefore, all imperfection of knowledge and prophesy will come to an end for those believers who live according to the Christian teaching in faith and love. Yes, these gifts are imperfect and partial, but they are indispensable to meet the Truth through faith and love. Man will understand fully when face to face with God, as he has been fully understood by God. Yet, God loves man; the mystery is on man's part, not on God's.
LOVE AS THE MOST EXCELLENT WAV
A faithful and hopeful love is the more excellent way, not only because it remains and grows here on earth, but because it is the main virtue for the life hereafter. Love is the fulfillment of the expectations of the faithful; it supercedes faith and hope, prophesy and knowledge, because its nature is God's nature: "God is love." The "more excellent way" is the rock upon which fellowship is built, because it is constructive in character. Love never fails to achieve immeasurable results and character. The gift of love enriches the one who give it as well as the one to whom it is given. The more the Christian gives this love, the more he becomes a loving spirit in happiness and in joy of giving. Love has a profound effect not only on those who receive it, but also on those who give it freely and unselfishly. By this Christian love, bitterness, jealousy and pride lose their evil force and fail to destroy fellowship among people. Love is the only thing that one cannot give too much of. There is no substitute for Christian love; it never harms; it can do only good. It is necessary for people today to rediscover this truth of love which man's innate nature demands. Through love one will learn to be righteous, the only means to change man's nature from greed and corruption. The law of righteousness through Christian love will bring about the peace and harmony which is so lacking in man and society.
Such being the substance of love, it plays an excellent role in living with "neighbor," not only with individuals, but nations as well; not only with people of the same faith or race or color, but among all the peoples on earth, without discrimination. Neighborliness among individuals or nations without love is a pretense and a deception. In society today, little love is seen that would create mutual cooperation, peace and security. The continents of the Americas, Asia, Africa and Europe are vast neighborhoods that lack this love that would bring about mutual understanding, trust, harmony, and peace. If this Christian love becomes the main objective, this most excellent way would eliminate all wars, hatred, greed, jealousy and fear. If international affairs are to achieve this "most excellent way," it must first be spread by the family spirit of love, because the world is becoming a smaller area. This love is an urgent and vital spirit necessary for the world in which we live. How much greater would our nation be today, if Christian love became the spirit of every individual. Today's turmoil, dissension, crime and opposing ideologies would not exist. The key to this is the love of Jesus Christ, the Light of the World. The sooner all peoples realize and accept this, the sooner peace and harmony will reign. This love is a love that everyone can give, for the future of mankind depends on this love. Therefore, it is imperative for everyone to "make love your aim" (I Corinthians 13:14).
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How Many Times
Is Christianity Collapsing? A theological evaluation regarding T.B.N. and its so-called ministers!
Part II -Is Christianity Collapsing?
The Demise of Marriage And Dissolution of the Family
» Abouna's Two Cents Worth or at his new website at:
www.freewebs.com/abouna_gregori/ (blogs, guest-book, memorial page and more)
Amber Alert Information on missing Children
Before, During and after the Lenten Season, Pasch or Easter, it is one's duty as a true Christian which rests upon the Orthodox Catholic Christian Faith established by Jesus Christ, that one continues on the path, the struggle in this life to:
Learn the meaning of Pascha (Easter) and the Life of Christ, His teachings and their importance for all who call themselves Christian.
Click on either the above Icon or any of the following links to learn more!
Pascha - Lenten Season - Easter
● Lent Message (New)
● The Institution of Lent ● Turning The Other Cheek ● Hating One's Parents ● Violence and the Kingdom ● The Last Events of Christ
● A word for the People of God
and Other Hard Sayings of Jesus Christ
● Who are the Modern Day Pharisees and Sadducees who abuse the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ? ● What is a Safe Church (New)
Go to "Commemorations" for daily Commemorations, or When Viewing a News Article click on the link to either the Return to "Home Page" or Daily News for 2006 for today's current Daily/weekly News and Information or the:
2006 NEWS ARCHIVE
2005 News Archive
2004 news Archive
2003 News Archive.
Our Daily/Weekly News and information gathering has enlarged. As a result, we will be posting, on the entry page, only those current News and Informational Items for the day/week. All other news and informational items for previous days in the month will be moved to our Archive Pages for that month and year, as shown above...
Also... It is suggested you view the article and especially the related commentary opinion having to do with your telephone, internet and other activities since the defeat of one of the extension provisions of the Patriot Act by clicking here...
From Our Metropolitan Archbishop, Archabbot and Primate, +Joseph Thaddeus (Stanford), OSB, SSJt., Ph.D.
A Fool For Christ who believes
"Prejudice Makes Prisoners of the Hated and the Hater"
(Why the Photo Image as seen above? See Quotes for September-October-November 2005 from "Franklin")
Apostle1.com, Apostle1.org and Apostle1.net
We are an educational, News-informational and research Web Site dedicated to providing such as befits those who seek things pertinent to the Orthodox Catholic Christian Faith and life.
Also Know that:
We, at apostle1.com do cause for "Point" and "Counterpoint" discussions at our web site. This is sometimes the same way in which authors and writers do in order to bring about both sides or arguments in discussions or about some issues affecting the Church as a whole. Abbot +Gregori and our Metropolitan Archbishop do this from time to time. What part of celibacy does one not understand?
However, it has come to our attention that un-named individual(s) think it wise and not harmful to start attacking by taking copyrighted materials to use in their own web site without permission, per se: as for an example, the subjects pertaining to "Homosexuals" and "Homosexuality in the Church," etc. for the purpose of advancing their own causes to start their attacking of other(s) which is not bound in and with the Church, but with a personal agenda of self-image because of anger, hate, fear and worse. They are Roman in attitude and practice, but not Orthodox, although calling themselves "Orthodox" even "Celtic".
It is understood, according to information and belief, that three of his/her/their websites may have been closed by former service providers due to complaints against him/them for internet terrorism, spewing "hate" and causing for an individual whom he/they discuss, to be exposed to potential physical harm which happened in the early part of the 2005 when they thought themselves wise in their own conceit, for things of more than 13 years in the past. What part of "Hate" - "Exposing another to threats of losing life" - "Internet Terrorism" does he/they not understand? Now, under other domain names, the same/similar hate messages re-occur against the same individual.
We find them to be un-orthodox and un-Christian in spirit and truth for they continue to argue things of the past that is not a part of the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ, and (in fact) go against the very commandments of Jesus Christ! And those who do such are, it is opined upon investigation and in most instances, the very one(s) who had been or are under ban as excommunicated individuals posing as duly ordained clergy who had been a part of this jurisdiction (and so many numerous others) in times past.
Apostle1.com's NOTE: A few have sent inquiries as to why we post information and/or articles relating to what might be considered as political and sometimes from other Protestants . And the reply is much the same as it states on the entry page.... We Are:
A Non-Profit Religious Hosting Service
an Educational, News, Informational and Research Web Site dedicated to providing such as befits those who seek things pertinent to the Orthodox Catholic Christian Faith and life for various
Traditional Orthodox Jurisdictions
While the answer and question above is not sufficient for some to understand, we take the view (which we believe is ORTHODOX) that all things pertinent to life and living affects, and has an effect, upon not just our belief (Orthodox), but (for many) the way in which we act in accordance with our belief, our very faith.
Because this is a highly Protestant Country in which we live, having an effect upon the laws of the land, we should know something of what is on-going and where efforts by those denominations may affect and have a intrinsic effect on our very laws, for such does have an effect upon our daily lives as Orthodox Catholic Christians.
If one is not cognizant of the real events happening both locally and in the world, although many are removed from the world... one will not know what to expect or what to do, or how one can or cannot act which might betray one's faith and accrue the wrath of civil authorities as laws change. Yet, we are also reminded that these things must happen and it was for that which there exists many early Christian Martyrs and Saints.
While we can remove ourselves from the world, we still live in it. And for the faithful, theirs is a struggle for knowledge and understanding. All things are pertinent to the Orthodox Catholic Christian Faith which is the very foundation of Christianity. As such, we can not abandon them and leave them blind to events and happenings.
What we post as related to those things similar to various articles which might have a political theme or non-Orthodox Catholic Christian content, of sorts, does not mean or imply that we are supportive of, or against something articulated in an article, so much as it is NEWS and our faithful should be made aware, for such may be the very thing that will impact their day-to-day life.
Remember, not all Protestants, especially hard core cultic groups such as "Charismatic" - "Evangelical" and other people are not so generous in their viciousness toward anyone and anything that appears "Catholic" whether of the Roman or Orthodox jurisdictions, for they do not know or want to learn that which makes them "different" in their walk and talk as being far from the roots of Christianity.
Remember, it is the Roman jurisdiction which has more outwardly shown that it can be one of the most vicious toward those who are not Roman but are very much "Catholic" - for the sun and moon does not rise and set on the Vatican (Latin or Roman) jurisdiction as to who is or is not "Catholic" for the Roman jurisdiction split (schismed) from the roots of "Catholicism" which is founded in what is termed and called today as "Orthodoxy".
Any good article or piece of information will be considered so long as it is not defamatory or slanderous toward an individual when not based on TRUTH or FACT, or which is altered out of context from its original publishing by recognized sources.
+Joseph Thaddeus (Stanford), OSB, SSJt., Ph.D.
“I prefer a defeat accompanied by humility to a victory accompanied by pride.”
A Curse or a Blessing? Depending on to whom it may...
Yes, our Metropolitan Archbishop, +Joseph Thaddeus, SSJt., Ph.D. strongly defends the Seals of the Confessional for such leads to true Repentance in thought, word and deed whereby the penitent is required to make amends, where possible, to seek forgiveness of those harmed by his actions whether real or imagined, and to give his forgiveness to those who have harmed him before taking the Holy Body and Blood in the Eucharist, Jesus the Christ. The reality of this understanding is bound up in and with the findings for which cause he, himself, had been character assassinated by his detractors who claim the courts prevented him from breaking the Seals of the Confessional which is not the truth at all.... Click here to see what another bishop's findings are...
The workings of Holy Spirit will not be daunted by those who attempt to cause disruption! It is for these and other reasons that you are urged to read what true repentance and forgiveness means for real "Christians".
"It would be better to have ten (10) true repentant X-felons who ask for and give true forgiveness than it would be to have one (1) non-x-felon or common person whose self-righteousness exceeds even the Pharisees, Sadducees, the gossip mongers, slanderers and un-repentant; for the repentant x-felon understands the true meaning of the Church's purpose as being the spiritual hospital." (siq) +Joseph Thaddeus, OSB, SSJt., Ph.D., Metropolitan Archbishop, Archabbot, Primate
Yes... "Prejudice Makes Prisoners of the Hated and the Hater..." (1992-Fr. Alan Stanford)
One can ask, "What part of 'Prejudice' and 'hate' do you not understand? Are you a complacent person? In light of the saying, examine yourself! You may be surprised if you are honest with yourself for your soul may convict you before Jesus Christ convicts you in the times to come!
tested by some trial you should try to find out not why or through whom it came,
but only how to endure it gratefully, without distress or rancor."
St. Mark the Ascetic.
"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit." Psalms 32:1-2
For further information about how spammers, hackers and those who are angry with you can or will attempt to do damage, we offer the following link as regards some of the computer - internet problems:
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A Message from Our metropolitan Archbishop - UPDATED
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Quotes from Metropolitan Archbishop +Joseph Thaddeus, SSJt., Ph.D. Continuously updated
If You have a question that you wish to ask, please feel free to submit it. However, may it be suggested that you review all previous questions for the Month and also the Archive of questions previously asked for your question may have already been answered.
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Twenty First Century Desert Fathers
Who Are: The Thaddeans?
Lines of Apostolic Succession of His Eminence
In The Shadows
Privacy Watch nOTICE to VISITORS ABOUT OUR E-MAIL POLICY - Updated
Saint Jude Thaddeus (Helper of the Hopeless) and The Thaddean Fathers (SSJt.)
MAN: To Err, the Church and Holy Spirit
The True meaning of Repentance and forgiveness
AN OPEN LETTER TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE CLERGY
Is Christianity At The Cross Roads?
As The World Goes, So Goes The Church
Anomalies in Ecclesiology of Contemporary Orthodox Churches
Attempts at Coming to An Understanding of Orthodox Catholic Christianity
A Response to two articles: “Pedophilia Condoned (Approved) By Islam” & “Dalai Lama With Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox and Others"
GRAMMATA ON THE MEANING OF CANONICAL
Definition and Meaning of "Orthodoxy"
Orthodox Catholic Fasts, Feasts, and Daily Prayers
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2005 News Archive
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