Answers of the Great Masters of the Spiritual Life to the
Questions of Their Disciples.
Disciple: You said we must prefer love of God
and neighbor above worldly and visible things, even our own bodies,
how can I love the man that hates and repulses me?
Master: For beasts, it is natural to ward off
whatever molests them. But for those made after the image of God and
motivated by reason, it is possible to love those that causes us
grief and to love those that hate us.
Disciple: Is it really possible to love one’s
Master: God never commands the impossible for he
would not otherwise rebuke the transgressor. Christ and the apostles
showed us by their examples, too.
Disciple: But more often do I see people unable
to love their enemies.
Master: As long as we are lovers of this world
we will not be able to love our enemies. We will even hate those who
love us, becoming worse than beasts.
Disciple: I have left everything but still find
it difficult to love my enemies. What else must I do?
Master: Besides renouncing all things, you must also know the
purpose of the Lord…which is to get your enemies and bring them
closer to Christ.
St. Maximus the Confessor