Preaching the Love of God – St. Isaac of Syria

isaacI would not have a blog except for the friendship of Fr. Aidan Kimel. He has returned to writing himself. His latest is an exquisite word on the need for preaching the love of God – with a wonderful look at this love in the writings of St. Isaac. I append a short excerpt. Do yourself a favor and follow the link. Listen to the love of God – it is the whole of the gospel. 

…I am convinced that most Orthodox and Catholic preachers simply do not understand what it means to speak the good news of Jesus Christ. They do not understand that preaching is, first and foremost, the proclamation of the God who is absolute love and mercy. The homilies I have heard may be characterized as exhortation. I have heard exhortations to good behavior. I have heard exhortations to imitate Christ in his care for the poor. I have heard exhortations to repentance and the acquisition of the virtues. I have heard exhortations to adhere to the dogmas and traditions of the Church. I have heard exhortations to prayer and ascetical discipline. But rarely, oh so rarely, have I heard the kerygmatic announcement of the surprising and unmerited mercy of God. Rarely have I heard the proclamation of the resurrection of Christ and the eschatological existence now freely given to us in the Church by the Spirit. Rarely have I heard of the God who leaves his flock in search for one lost sheep and upon finding it lays it on his shoulders and rejoicing takes it back to the flock. Orthodox and Catholic preachers prefer to exhort, urge, counsel, warn, and admonish their congregations; but this kind of preaching, whether moralistic or ascetical, cannot save. Only the proclamation of love communicates the abundant life that Christ came to bring us.  Read the rest at Eclectic Orthodoxy.

Comments

  1. Matushka Mary Christine says

    It uplifts my soul to hear how much God loves us despite all we do to push Him away.

  2. Linda Nicole says

    At the church I attend the homilies given by our priest speak of love and Gods unending mercy for us, almost every week with various flavors. It always comes from deep in his heart. Great article, but I think that there are very many priest that do a lot more than give an exhortation.

  3. Dino says

    It reminds us of St. John Chrysostom’s homily:

    I your father, I your spouse, I your home,
    I your nurse, I your root, I your foundation.
    Whatever you want, I will be.
    You will lack nothing. I will labor for you.
    For I came to serve and not to be served.
    I will be your friend and your host,
    your head and your brother, your sister and your mother.
    I will be everything. Only be intimate with Me!
    I will be poor for you, errant for you,
    on the Cross for you, in the Tomb for you.
    Above I plead the Father for your sake,
    on earth I became intercessor to the Father for your sake.
    You are everything for Me,
    brother, co-heir, friend and member.
    What more do you want?

    If only we were aware that He is our all! If only we remembered that Man has but a single desire and it is for Him… (all other desires that distract us from it are nothing but corruptions of that one desire)