Patristic Tradition

On the Saints ( 16.02.2009 )

‘I love them that love me, and them that honour me I will honour,’ saith the Lord.

God is glorified in the Saints, while the Saints are glorified by God. The glory which the Lord gives the Saints is so exceeding great that were men to see a saint as he really is, they would fall on their faces in veneration, for man in the flesh is unable to bear the manifestation of heavenly glory.

Be not astonished at this. The Lord so loved His creation that He gave man abundantly of the Holy Spirit, and in the Holy Spirit man became like unto God.

But wherefore does the Lord so love man? Because He is love itself; and this love is made known through the Holy Spirit.

By the Holy Spirit does man come to know the Lord, his Creator, and the Holy Spirit with His grace fills his entire being - his soul, his mind and his body.

The Lord gave the Saints His grace, and they loved Him and clung to Him utterly, for the sweetness of the love of God does not allow of love for the world and its beauty.

And if it be thus here on earth, how much closer will the Saints in heaven be united to the Lord in love! And this love is ineffably sweet and proceeds from the Holy Spirit, and all the heavenly hosts are nourished thereon.

God is love; and the Holy Spirit in the Saints is love.

By the Holy Spirit is the Lord made known. By the Holy Spirit is the Lord magnified in heaven. By the Holy Spirit the Saints glorify God, and with the gifts of the Holy Spirit does the Lord give glory to the Saints, and this glory shall have no end.

To many people the Saints seem far removed from us. But the Saints are far only from people who have distanced themselves - they are very close to them that keep Christ's commandments and possess the grace of the Holy Spirit.

In heaven all things live and move in the Holy Spirit. But this same Holy Spirit is on earth, too. The Holy Spirit dwells in our Church; in the sacraments; in the Holy Scriptures; in the souls of the faithful. The Holy Spirit unites all men, and so the Saints are close to us; and when we pray to them they hear our prayers in the Holy Spirit, and our souls feel that they are praying for us.

How happy and blessed are we Orthodox Christians, that the Lord has given us life in the Holy Spirit; and He makes glad our souls. But we must guard Him soberly - a single evil thought and He forsakes the soul, and then the love of God is no longer with us - we have no more assurance in prayer, and no firm hope that we shall receive that for which we ask.

The Saints live in another world, and there through the Holy Spirit they behold the glory of God and the beauty of the Lord's countenance. But in the same Holy Spirit they see our lives, too, and our deeds. They know our sorrows and hear our ardent prayers. In their lives they learned of the love of God from the Holy Spirit; and he who knows love on earth takes it with him into eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven, where love grows and becomes perfect. And if love makes one unable to forget a brother here, how much more do the Saints remember and pray for us!