“… Christianity is the religion of love.  Christ left with his disciples not a doctrine of individual salvation but a new commandment ‘that they love one another,’ and He added: ‘By this shall all know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’  Love is thus the foundation, the very life of the Church which is, in the words of St Ignatius of Antioch, the ‘unity of faith and love.’  Sin is always absence of love, and therefore separation, isolation, war of all against all.  The new life given by Christ and conveyed to us by the Church is, first of all, a life of reconciliation, of ‘gathering into oneness of those who were dispersed,’ the restoration of love broken by sin.


But how can we even begin our return to God and our reconciliation with Him if in ourselves we do not return to the unique new commandment of love?  . . .  Loving Christ, we love all those who are in Him; loving those who are in Him, we love Christ…”  (Alexander Schmemann, GREAT LENT, pp 23-24)