Silouan the AthoniteThis is true freedom – to be in God.

And I did not know this before.

Until I was seven and twenty I simply believed that God was, but I did not know Him;

but when my soul knew Him by the Holy Spirit I was consumed with longing for Him, and now day and night I seek Him with burning heart.

The Lord wants us to love one another: in this – in love towards God and our fellow-man – lies freedom.

In this lie both freedom and equality.  With society as it is graduated on this earth, there can be no equality; but that is of no importance to the soul.

Not everyone can be an emperor or a prince; not everyone can be a patriarch or an abbot, or a leader; but in every walk of life we can love God and be pleasing to Him, and only this is important.

And the man who loves God most in this world will have the most glory in the Kingdom.

He who loves most will the most strongly yearn and reach for God, and be closest to Him.

Each will be glorified according to the measure of his life. And I have discovered that love varies in strength.

When a man fears God lest he grieve Him in some way – that is the first degree of love.

He who keeps his mind pure of intrusive thoughts knows the second degree of love, which is greater than the first.

The third and still greater kind of love is when a man is sensible of grace in his soul.

The fourth and perfect kind of love for God exists when a man possesses the grace of the Holy Spirit both in soul and body.

The body is then hallowed, and after death the earthly remains become relics.  This is what happened in the case of the holy Martyrs and Prophets and venerable Fathers.

[…] The sweetness of the Holy Spirit regenerates the entire man and teaches him to love God to the utmost.

In the fulness of her love for God, the soul has no contact with the world; though a man live on earth among other men, in his love for God he forgets everything that is of this world.

But our trouble is that through the pride of our mind we do not continue in this grace, and so grace forsakes us, and the soul seeks it, weeping and sobbing and saying, “My soul longs for the Lord.’

Silouan the Athonite (1866-1938; Eastern Orthodox): from St. Silouan, Wisdom From Mount Athos – The Writings of Staretz Silouan 1866-1938, by Archimandrite Sophrony, trans. Rosemary Edmonds, (St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, Crestwood, NY 1974) @ Kandylaki.