Monday, November 23, 2015


     "And as ye would that men should do unto you, do ye also to them likewise."  This so-called Golden Rule our Lord enjoins us to follow is the cornerstone of Christian morality--and, in fact, a similar rule has been expressed in other religions throughout history.  Nor is it even necessary that we believe in God or that we profess any particular religious faith to consider this injunction worthy to follow--on purely practical grounds.  After all, if we treat others as we ourselves wish to be treated, they will be inclined to treat us with respect, and thus we shall have a better chance of achieving success in this world--whether in business or any other aspect of life. 

     The truly radical injunction of our Faith, however, is the command to "love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again."  Yet even though if we should fulfill this commandment, our "reward shall be great," it is simply impossible to do so merely for the sake of receiving this reward.  Such selfless love can only be attained as a gift of God, given to those who strive to live a life centered in God.  So long as we expect to receive something in return, our love remains imperfect.

     The fact is: so long as the smallest trace of egotistical thoughts and desires motivate our actions, we are still very far from fulfilling the commandment to love God with all our heart, soul and mind and our neighbor as our very own self.  By its very definition, perfect love is selfless and never considers for the briefest moment, "What's in it for me?"  For if we truly desire to partake of our Lord's glorious Resurrection, we must be willing to put to death everything within us that separates us from His love.

     But this, of course, is not something we can hope to accomplish overnight: it is a lifelong process, an ascetic struggle that must continue until that moment when we draw our dying breath--and even beyond that, as we continue our ascent towards God throughout eternity.  The only thing that truly matters at the moment is that we have set our course forward upon the path of salvation, and that we are headed--however imperfectly--in the right direction.  Because once we have passed on from this mortal life into eternity, there can be no repentance.

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