Love of God

“Those aspiring to the state of virtue must strive to fulfill the commandments by sustaining this inward struggle, travail and meditation unceasingly night and day, whether praying or serving, eating or drinking, or doing anything else. In this way, if any good comes about it will be to God’s glory and not to their own. The fulfillment of the commandments presents no difficulty or trouble to us when it is facilitated by the love of God and when this love relieves it of all that is burdensome. As has been said, the whole effort of the enemy is directed towards distracting the intellect from remembrance, fear and love of God, and to turning it by means of earthly forms and seductions away from what is truly good towards what appears to be good.

Melchisedek, Priest of God

The patriarch Abraham, when he was receiving Melchisedec, the priest of God, made him an offering from the firstfruits of the earth and so obtained his blessing (cf. Gen. 14:19-20). Through this incident the Spirit indicates that the first and highest elements of our constitution – the intellect, the conscience, the loving power of the soul – must initially be offered to God as a holy sacrifice. The firstfruits and the highest of our true thoughts must be continually devoted to remembrance of him, engrossed in His love and in unutterable and boundless longing for Him. In this way we can grow and move forward day by day, assisted by divine grace. Then the burden of fulfilling the commandments will appear light to us, and we will carry them out faultlessly and irreproachably, helped by the Lord Himself on account of our faith in Him.”  (St. Makarios of Egypt, The Philokalia, Vol. 3, p. 290)