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Ten Concepts, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

38- Practical Love

 

True love is practical love.

St. John the Apostle said in this regard, "Let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth" (1 John 3:18).

The parents' love for a child is practical love, for they care for their nourishment, health, cleanliness and education. They are also concerned with their spiritual life; they instruct him in religion and encourage him in virtue.

The Song of Songs says concerning love, "Set me a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm" (Song 8:6).

St-Takla.org Image: Vector art: Heart Line صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: صورة من فن فيكتور: رسم قلب!

St-Takla.org Image: Vector art: Heart Line

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: صورة من فن فيكتور: رسم قلب!

The expression "a seal upon your heart" means your emotions and inner feelings, whereas the expression "a seal upon your arm" means giving hand in work.

St. Peter the Apostle was not a seal upon the heart when he said, "Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be... if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!." (Mark 14:29,30). And when he denied, he was not a seal upon the arm.

So, a seal upon the heart refers to faith, and a seal upon the arm refers to works. Love for God requires both matters together, and love for people also requires feelings and work; for such is practical love.

With regard to pastors, the Holy Bible says, "The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep" (John 10:11), as we have discussed this issue before here on st-takla.org in other sections. Giving oneself is practical love.

God -the Good Shepherd- as mentioned in the Holy Bible, "demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8).

It was practical love demonstrated in the Incarnation, Crucifixion and redemption.

Love is an emotion expressing itself in action

The Lord says, "My son, give Me your heart" (Prov.23:26). Does this mean that God wants mere emotions? No, for He says immediately after, "And let your eyes observe My ways." Here love is required together with action. Thus the Lord says, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word" (John 14:23), and also, "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love" (John 15:10).

Love for God is not theoretical love, nor mere emotions.

Your love for God is demonstrated in your obedience to Him and in keeping His commandments. It is revealed also in spreading His kingdom on earth, in serving Him and in serving His church and His children.

But to say that you love God while you are doing nothing, is mere theoretical love which is not acceptable.

Here I remember with great admiration, those who preached God's word in countries where people are cannibals.

This is the sacrificing love; the love of a person who gives people God's word to feed on, even if some of them feed on him!!


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