God is Worthy of All Love, for His Own Sake
God created man to glorify Him unceasingly; this is the eternal destiny desired by God for every man born into this world. God created man to love Him without reservation, not for anything that God does for man, but because God is worthy of all love, for His own sake. Our ultimate purpose is to love God freely with all of our being.
On a day to day basis, however, we usually perceive our relationship with God as something “contractual” – “I’ll say these prayers or do this good work, and God will do something good for me.” Of course, God wants us to ask Him for things; Our Lord Jesus Christ said, “Seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Of course, God rewards those who do His holy will. But we should ask Him insistently, daily, to give us the desire to please Him, to do His will, simply because He is worthy of all our love, obedience, and effort. It is the mark of a true Christian that he is zealous for God’s glory.
“Glory” is the praise and adoration that is due to God alone. In the Old Testament, God says, “My glory I give to no other.” Giving God the glory due to Him alone is the fulfillment of the first of the Ten Commandments: “I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt have no strange gods before me.”
We fulfill this commandment, first of all, by prayer. Prayer is man’s primary function, that for which we were created, and yet it is the activity we resist the most.
Why is this? It is because the demons and our fallen nature resist it the most, precisely because it is that activity most pleasing to God and most beneficial to our souls. Thus, if we wait until we “feel like” praying, we will rarely or never pray.
If, however, we force ourselves on a daily basis, after awhile we will desire to pray, and this desire will grow steadily through all the ups and downs of life. We also show zeal for God’s glory when we love and labor for the Church.
For too many Christians, attendance at worship and making sacrifices of time and resources for the Church are simply obligations, things we know we “have to do” but that “interfere” with our other, real priorities. If we would let go of our adulation of so many worldly activities and priorities we imagine we cannot live without, and dedicate our families and ourselves above all to the Church, how much lighter our hearts would be, and what happiness would pervade our homes!
The false glory of this oppressive world would fall off our backs like a great load of stones, and we would run freely to our heavenly home.
During the summer, when we are tempted to be more worldly, let us do the opposite: let us be eager to pray, to attend the Divine Services, to prepare for the Holy Mysteries, to seek and do God’s will in our daily life.
During this month of July (ns), we will have several beautiful feasts, including The Nativity of the Forerunner (24 June/ 7 July) and Ss. Peter and Paul (29 June/12 July). We have before us nearly two weeks remaining of the Holy Apostles' Fast, when we can dedicate ourselves especially to spiritual effort.
Let us be zealous for God’s glory!
On Holy Zeal
THE CHIEF THING in Christianity, according to the clear teaching of the Word of God, is the fire of Divine zeal, zeal for God and His glory—the holy zeal which alone is able to inspire man in labors and struggles pleasing to God, and without which there is no authentic spiritual life and there is not and cannot be any true Christianity.
Without this holy zeal Christians are "Christians" in name only: they only "have a name that they live," but in reality "they are dead," as was said to the holy Seer of Mysteries John (Apoc. 3 :1) .
True spiritual zeal is expressed, first of all, in zeal for God's glory, which is taught us in the words of the Lord's Prayer which stand at its very beginning: Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Those who are zealous for God's glory themselves glorify God with their whole heart—both in thought and feeling, both by words and deeds and with their whole life—and naturally desire that all other people should glorify God also in the same way, and therefore they cannot, of course, endure with indifference when in their presence, in some way or other, the name of God is blasphemed or holy things are mocked.
Being zealous for God, they sincerely strive to please God themselves and serve Him alone with all the power of their being, and they are ready to forget themselves all the way to sacrificing their very life in order to bring all men to the pleasing and the service of God.
They cannot calmly listen to blasphemy, and therefore they cannot support communion with and have friendship with blasphemers and mockers of the Name of God and despisers of holy things.
- from an article by the late Archbishop Averky of Syracuse and Holy Trinity Monastery.