Remember that every man is an image of God, and that all his glory is within him, in his heart. Man looks upon the face, whilst God looks upon the heart.
Christ, the Son of God, the Most Holy God, “is not ashamed to call us sinners brethren;” therefore do not at least be ashamed to call brothers and sisters poor, obscure, simple people, whether they be your relatives according to the flesh or not, do not be proud in your intercourse with them, do not despise them, for we are all actually brothers in Christ — we were all born of water and the Spirit in the baptismal font and became children of God; we are all called Christians, we are all nourished with the Body and Blood of the Son of God, the Saviour of the world, the sacraments of the Church are celebrated over all of us, we all pray the Lord’s prayer: “Our Father…”and all of us equally call God our Father.
To love God with all your heart means — to love with all your soul meekness, humility, purity and chastity, wisdom, truth, mercy, obedience, for the sake of God, and never to act contrarily to these virtues; that is, not to become proud, irritated, angry against anyone; not to commit adultery even in the heart; not to violate chastity, either by look, thought, or gesture; to avoid every inconsiderate, needless word and deed; to shun every iniquity; to hate avarice and covetousness; to flee from self-will and disobedience.
A Christian ought to pray for all Christians, as for himself, that God may prosper them in life, in faith, and in spiritual wisdom, and may free them from sins and passions. Why? In accordance with Christian love, which sees in all Christians, its own members and members of God the Christ, the common Saviour of all, desires for them the same as for itself, and strives by every means to do unto them as unto itself.
The God of Love is unchangeable, and we ought to be unchangeable and constant in our love. “Charity never faileth,” whilst dislike, hatred, or indifference and neglect proceed from the Devil.
Love for God and our neighbour, in our present corrupt state is impossible without self-sacrifice; he who wishes to fulfil the commandment concerning love for God and his neighbour, ought to devote himself in good time to great deeds and privations for the sake of those that he loves. (Amen.) “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He (the Christ) laid down His life for us.” “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
Excerpts from the diary of St. John of Kronstadt on Love
Excerpts compiled from: My Life in Christ or Moments of Spiritual Serenity and Contemplation, of Reverent Feeling, of Earnest Self-Amendment, and of Peace in God, St. John of Kronstadt.