Love is to Obey the Commandment to Love

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If you love Me, keep My commandments. He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.  (John 14:15, 14:21) 

St Diadochos of Photiki teaches:

“He who loves God consciously in his heart is known by God (cf. 1 Cor 8: 3), for to the degree that he receives the love of God consciously in his soul, he truly enters into God’s love.  From that time on, such a man never loses an intense longing for the illumination of spiritual knowledge, until he senses its strength in his bones and no longer knows himself, but is completely transformed by the love of God.  He is both present in this life and not present in it; still dwelling in the body, he yet departs from it, as through love he ceaselessly journeys towards God in his soul.  His heart now burns constantly with the fire of love and clings to God with an irresistible longing, since he has once and for all transcended self-love in his love for God.  As St Paul writes: ‘If we go out of ourselves, it is because of God; if we are restrained, it is for your sake’ (2 Cor 5:13).  

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When a man begins to perceive the love of God in all its richness, he begins also to love his neighbor with spiritual perception.  This is the love of which all the scriptures speak.  Friendship after the flesh is very easily destroyed on some slight pretext, since it is not held firm by spiritual perception.  But when a person is spiritually awakened, even if something irritates him, the bond of love is not dissolved; rekindling himself with the warmth of the love of God, he quickly recovers himself and with great joy seeks his neighbor’s love, even though he has been gravely wronged or insulted by him.  For the sweetness of God completely consumes the bitterness of the quarrel.  

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No one can love God consciously in his heart unless he has first feared Him with all his heart.  Through the action of fear the soul is purified and, as it were, made malleable and so it becomes awakened to the action of love. No one, however, can come to fear God completely in the way described, unless he first transcends all worldly cares…”    (THE PHILOKALIA Vol 1, pp 256-257)