St. Isaac the Syrian on Love


Note: These are from a group of texts distributed by Dr Rebecca Luft for her presentation at the St Macrina Institute Conference at our church in August.  Please read these texts which are profound and startling in the way they lead us to a purer, truer, and more Orthodox understanding of God. – Fr Tom

HOMILY II.38.2,22  “In love did He bring the world intro existence; in love is He going to bring it to that wondrous transformed state, and in love will the world be swallowed up in the great mystery of Him Who has performed all these things; in love will the whole course of the governance of creation finally be comprised…Among all His actions there is none which is not entirely a matter of mercy, love, and compassion; this constitutes the beginning and the end of his dealings with us.”

HOMILY II.39.17   “Let us not attribute to God’s actions and dealings with us any idea of requital.  Rather, we should speak of fatherly provision, a wise dispensation, a perfect will which is concerned for our good, and complete love.  If it is a case of love, then it is not one of requital; and if it is a case of requital, then it is not one of love.”

HOMILY I:51   Mercy is opposed to justice.  Justice is the equality of the even scale, for it gives to each as he deserves; and, when it makes recompense, it does not incline to one side or show respect of persons.  Mercy, on the other hand, is a sorrow and a pity stirred up by goodness, and it compassionately inclines man in the direction of all; it does not requite a man who is deserving of evil, and to him who is deserving of good it gives a double portion…”

How far these words are from the stereotypical image of the vengeful and punitive God, the stern and forbidding false father figure, perpetrated by so many who identify as Christian teachers and authorities! The words of this great 6th century father, should blow the cobwebs of dark and false nightmare images of God from our minds.