Even though the word shows us many paths and many ways for people to reach the kingdom of heaven, these paths are not, in fact, many, but one, though they’re divided into many, according to each person’s ability and disposition.
While we may begin from many and varied works and actions, just as travelers depart from different places and many cities, the destination we are attempting to reach is the same: the kingdom of heaven.
The actions and ways of godly men must be understood as spiritual virtues.
Those who begin to walk in them must head towards one goal, just as those who come from various countries and places come together, as we have said, to one city, the kingdom of heaven, where, together, they will become worthy to reign with Christ and become subjects of one King, our God and Father.
By this city, which is one, not many, you should understand the holy and undivided trinity of virtues, faith, hope and love, especially that virtue which comes before the others but is also mentioned as the last, since it is the goal of all good things and greater than them all- love.
All faith comes from it and is built on its foundation; on it, hope is based. Without love nothing has ever taken shape, nor ever will Its names and actions are numerous. Even more so are its distinctive features; its properties are divine and innumerable.
Yet it is one in nature, wholly beyond the ken of angels or men or any other creatures, even those which are unknown to us. Reason cannot tell of it; its glory is inaccessible; its counsels unsearchable. It is eternal and beyond time, and beyond sight, though it may be perceived.
How many are the delights of this Holy Zion not made by human hand. Those who have begun to see it no longer take any pleasure in perceptible, earthly objects; they become indifferent to the glory of this world.
Permit me, for a short time, to address myself to this love, to fulfill my desire for it, insofar as I can. When I recalled the beauty of undefiled love, its light suddenly appeared in my heart.
I was ravished with its sweetness and lost my senses; I lost all perception of this life and forgot all the things of this world. But then – I don’t know how – it departed from me and left me to lament my weakness.
Symeon the New Theologian (949–1022 AD): In Praise of Those Who Have Love in Their Hearts @ Pemptousia.