Love God with ALL Your Heart

St Gorazd of Prague

“For example, God says, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all our might’ (Deut. 6:5); yet how much have the fathers said and written – and still say and write – without equaling what is contained in that single phrase? For, as St. Basil the Great has said, to love God with all our soul means to love nothing together with God; for if someone loves his own soul, he loves God, not with all his soul, but only partially; and if we love ourselves and innumerable other things as well, how can we love God or dare to claim that we love Him? It is the same with the love of one’s neighbor. If we are not willing to sacrifice this temporal life, or perhaps even the life to come, for the sake of our neighbor, as were Moses and St. Paul, how can we say that we love him? For Moses said to God concerning his people, ‘If Thou wilt forgive their sins, forgive; but if not, blot me as well out of the book of life which Thou hast written’ (exod. 32:32); while St. Paul said, ‘For I could wish that I myself were severed from Christ for the sake of my brethren’ (Rom. 9:3). He prayed, that is to say, that he should perish in order that others might be saved – and those others were the Israelites who were seeking to kill him.” 

(St. Peter of Damaskos, The Philokalia, pp. 175-176)

2 thoughts on “Love God with ALL Your Heart

  1. I don’t know how to disagree with St. Paul! But I was always taught to live in such a way as to preserve over all else our soul for God. So, when it is written: “‘For I could wish that I myself were severed from Christ for the sake of my brethren’ (Rom. 9:3). He prayed, that is to say, that he should perish in order that others might be saved – and those others were the Israelites who were seeking to kill him…” maybe it is the holy zealous rhetoric of St. Paul, for he does say, at least rendered in this translation, “I could wish that… “, not necessarily that he would actually choose eternal misery of his soul which he had already given completely to Christ. Why can’t his astonishing claim of the degree of his sacrifice be understood as Christian hyperbole as we understand so much of St. King David’s Psalter?

    1. Forgive me for taking up a potentially argumentative question especially during Holy Lent. I know nothing and should be silent. I withdraw all I have written here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.