Joseph of Petrograd: “Love your enemies. To say this is easy, but how difficult to do it.”

Dover Beach

St.-Joseph-of-Petrograd

“Love your enemies (St. Luke 6: 35). To say this is easy, but how difficult to do it. This is much higher than simply love of neighbor. It is the supreme triumph of love, its true essence and most superb expression… In order that one’s heart might be inflamed with love toward one’s enemy, there must be a special, grace-given state of soul, a special heavenly attunement of the heart—there must be that inexpressible and indescribable quality that abundantly filled the soul of the First Martyr Stephen when he, being stoned, his face shining like an angel, prayed for his murderers: Lord, lay not this sin to their charge (Acts 7: 60). Oh, in this great moment for him what small place did everything earthly around him find in him! What were the executioners to him? Before him were the opened heavens, the Son of God right hand of the…

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