Saint Cosmas of Aetolia on Love for One’s Neighbor

St. Cosmas of Aetolia

St. Cosmas of Aetolia

If we want to fare well in this life and to go to  Paradise , and to call our God love and father, we must have two loves: the love for God and the love for our neighbor. It is natural for us to have these two loves, and contrary to nature not to have them. Just as a swallow needs two wings in order to fly in the air, so we need these two loves, because without them we cannot be saved.

The Martyrs won Paradise through their blood; the Ascetics, through their ascetic life. Now you, my brethren, who have children, how will you win Paradise? By means of hospitality, by giving to your brothers who are poor, blind, lame.

Let us have love for God and for our fellow men. Then God comes and brings us joy and implants the eternal life in our hearts, and we fare well in this life and also go to Paradise , there to rejoice forever!

Has God given us wealth? It is our duty to eat and drink so much as is sufficient, and to have enough clothes; the rest we should spend for the poor. God has not given us wealth in order that we might eat and drink to excess, and make costly clothes and build stately houses, while the poor die of starvation. Such, then, is our duty. Realize it. From today on act in this manner, and you shall be saved.

We who are pious Christians ought to love our enemies and forgive them. We ought to offer them food and drink, and entreat God for their souls. And then we should say: “My God, I beseech Thee to forgive me, as I have forgiven my enemies.

If you want God to forgive you all your sins and write your names in Paradise , say to your enemies three times: “May God forgive you and have mercy upon you!”

* Saints Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church

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