This Heart is Filled With Pity For All God’s Creatures

I am stealing the quotation below from Fr. Stephen; it sums up the way we must relate to a very unjust and violent world, stuff like this and this and this and…. Those injunctions about loving your enemy, putting down you sword- they seem easy enough when we’re just talking about personal enemies (not that they are easy in those instances, even), but they’re even harder when we’re talking about genuinely evil actions, systems and pervasive patterns of injustice- shooting wars, not just the personal verbal battles we fight all too often. What is the way the St. Silouan offers? Pick up the sword only when a really genuine revolution summons? No- pray for the evil people (yourself included), feel the deepest compassion for them. This is the only way, the only way really to truly and authentically resist evil. Lord knows I’ve often felt the urge to pick up the sword, to want to see the powerful evil-doers pay, here, now, to not get away with it. According to St. Silouan- and he has Christ Himself backing him up- that is the wrong spirit. Only love can overcome, forgiveness and compassion- for all- are the only real way.

Lord have mercy on us.

If you think evil of people, it means you have an evil spirit in you whispering evil thoughts about others. And if a man dies without repenting, without having forgiven his brother, his soul will go to the place where lives the evil spirit which possessed his soul.

This is the law we have: if you forgive others, it is a sign that the Lord has forgiven you; but if you refuse to forgive, then your own sin remains with you.

The Lord wants us to love our fellow-man; and if you reflect that the Lord loves him, you have a sign of the Lord’s love for you. And if you consider how greatly the Lord loves His creature, and you yourself have compassion on all creation, and love your enemies, counting yourself the vilest of all, it is a sign of abundant grace of the Holy Spirit in you.

He who has the Holy Spirit in him, to however slight a degree, sorrows day and night for all mankind. This heart is filled with pity for all God’s creatures, more especially for those who do not know God, or who resist Him and therefore are bound for the fire of torment. For them, more than for himself, he prays day and night, that all may repent and know the Lord.

Christ prayed for them that were crucifying him: ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.’ Stephen the Martyr prayed for those who stoned him, that the Lord ‘lay not this sin to their charge.’ And we, if we wish to preserve grace, must pray for our enemies. If you do not feel pity for the sinner destined to suffer the pains of hell-fire, it means that the grace of the Holy Spirit is not in you, but an evil spirit. While you are still alive, therefore, strive by repentance to free yourself from this spirit.

St. Silouan

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