Love of God and neighbor


The more we are united to our neighbor, the more we are united to God. So that you can understand the meaning of this saying I’m going to give you an image taken from the Fathers: imagine a circle drawn on the ground, that is to say a line drawn into a round shape with a compass, having a centre. We refer to the middle of the circle as being the exact centre. Now give your attention to what I am saying. Imagine that this circle is the world, its centre is God and each radius represents different ways or kinds of lifestyle. When the saints, desiring to draw near to God, move towards the middle of the circle, then to the degree to which they penetrate further into its interior they draw closer to each other even as they dra w closer to God. The closer they draw to God, the closer they draw to each other; and the closer they draw to each other, the closer they draw to God.

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From this you will understand that the same thing applies conversely when we turn away from God to withdraw outside the circle: then it becomes obvious that, the more we withdraw from God, the more we withdraw from each other, and the more we withdraw from each other, the more we also withdraw from God..

Such is the nature of charity. To the extent that we stand outside and do not love God, to the same extent each one of us stands apart with regard to their neighbor. But if we love God, then insofar as we come closer to God through our love for him, we also participate in love of neighbor to the same extent. And insofar as we are united to our neighbor we are equally so to God.

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