Every word of Christ displays God’s mercy, justice and wisdom, and through hearing introduces the power of these into those who hear them gladly. Wherefore the unmerciful and the unjust, hearing without pleasure, were not able to know the wisdom of God, but even crucified Him for teaching it. Let us also observe whether we hear him gladly (cf. Mark 12:37). For He says: “He that loves me will keep my commandments, and he shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him” (John 14:21). Do you not see how He hid His manifestation in the Commandments? Of all the Commandments, therefore, that of love for God and for neighbor is the most comprehensive. This love is made firm by abstinence from worldly things and by stillness of thoughts. ¶ Knowing this, the Lord enjoins us saying, “Take no thought for the morrow” (Matthew 6:34); and reasonably. For how will he who has not freed himself from worldly things and anxiety about them, be freed from evil thoughts? And how will he who is surrounded by such thoughts see the inherent sin concealed in him? … If one has not seen this comprehensive sin, when will he pray regarding it and be cleansed? And how will he who has not been cleansed find the place of pure nature? And how will he who has not found this behold the inner house of Christ? For we are the house of God, according to the Prophetic, Evangelical and Apostolic saying (Hebrews 3:6).
— St. Mark the Ascetic, in the Philokalia (Trans. Constantine Cavarnos)
I was especially struck by the message, paradoxical to many ears, that love can only be founded on renunciation of worldly things.
The drawing is of St. Maximos the Hut-burner of Mount Athos.