Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Torment of Love

My favourite description of what love, and what it is not, is given to us by St Paul, 1 Corinthian, 13, with the hymn of love. Is love only a positive feeling and existence. Can it maintain a negative meaning to it? Interestingly enough, St Isaac the Syrian explains how the love of God is an intolerable torment for those who have not acquired it within themselves. St Isaac claims:

‘Those who find themselves in gehenna will be characterized with the scourge of love. How cruel and bitter this torment of love will be! For those who understand that they have sinned against love, undergo greater sufferings than those produced by the most fearful tortures. The sorrow which takes hold of the heart which has sinned against love, is more piercing than any other pain. It is not right to say that the sinners in hell are deprived of the love of God. . .  . But love acts in two difference ways, as suffering in the reproved, and as joy in the blessed.’[1]

[1] Ed. Theotoki, LXXXIV, pp.480-1; Wensinck, XXVII, p.136.

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