Four Hundred Texts on Love (Fourth Century) 28

60. With the help of hope, faith perfects our love for God. By making us keep the commandments, a clear conscience gives substance to our love for our neighbor. For a clear conscience cannot be charged with the breaking of a commandment. Only those who seek true salvation believe in their hearts in these three things, faith, hope and love.

When I read this text, I immediately think, “And the greatest of these is love.” But love does not stand in a vacuum. Indeed, love is perhaps the hardest thing to do. Jesus says that if we love him, we obey his commands. And what is his command? Love. If it’s to be anything more than a mental exercise, Christianity must be a life lived. The Orthodox speak of our life in Christ for anything else is delusion. And when we are indeed in Christ, we will act from self-sacrificing love, for how could we do any different? Our problem is often that we seek to find our life everywhere it is not.

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