The teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ clearly make the love of God and love of neighbor as central to following Him as disciples. Below are three quotes from His disciples through the centuries on the practice of Christian love.
The first quote is from St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, who died in 407AD). Chrysostom wrote extensively on Christian love. Here is one thing he writes about our relationship with others:
“Let us put aside our hatred for one another. Let no one be an enemy to his neighbor for even a single day. He must rid himself of anger before nightfall. If he does not do this but rather goes off by himself, in his hatred, he will compile a list of all that was said and done. And this will make it harder to end the quarrel and more difficult to effect a reconciliation.”
The second quote is from Dorotheos of Gaza, a 6th Century monk who says:
“Do not ask for love from your neighbor, for if you ask and he does not respond you will be troubled. Instead, show your love for your neighbor and you will be at rest, and so you will bring your neighbor to love.”
(Dorotheos of Gaza, Discourses & Sayings, pg. 251)
And within our own time, Fr. Stanley Harakas writes:
“Respond in daily acts of personal commitment and humble learning at the feet of the Master. Displace your pride of heart (and mind and place and station) with the self-effacing loyalty that alone makes it possible for you to discover your true self, created and destined to become God’s image and likeness. Become Godlike yourself in love for your brothers and sisters in the body of Christ, His Church, and humanity everywhere, especially for the poor, the despitefully used, the unjustly treated. Practice philanthropic love and struggle for justice wherever you can. Share the good news of the gospel of salvation, for in truth, Jesus Christ is the life of the world!” (Of Life and Salvation: Reflections on Living the Christian Life, pg. 7)
By your righteous deeds you revealed to the world
An image of the perfect servant of the Lord.
By your fasting, vigil and prayers,
You were inspired in your evangelical life,
Feeding the hungry and caring for the poor,
Nursing the sick and strengthening the weak.
Now you stand at the right hand of the Master, Christ,
O holy Juliana, interceding for our souls.