From the Elder Sophrony’s St. Silouan the Athonite.
This commandment of Christ’s, ‘Love your enemies,’ is the reflection in our world of the Triune God’s all-perfect love, and constitutes the corner-stone of our whole teaching. It is the ultimate synthesis of all our theology. It is the ‘power from on high’ and the ‘abundance of life’ that Christ gave us. It is the ‘baptism of the Holy Ghost, and with fire’ that St. John the Baptist speaks of. The bidding, ‘Love your enemies’ is the ‘fire on the earth’ that the Lord brought by His coming. It is the uncreated Divine Light which shone down on the Apostles on Mt. Tabor. It is the ‘cloven tongues like as of fire’ wherein the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles in the upper chamber of Sion. It is the Kingdom of God in us ‘come with power.’ It is the fulfilment of the human being and the perfection of likeness to God.
However wise, learned, noble a man may be, if he does not love his enemies – that is, love his every fellow-being – he has not attained to God. Contrariwise, however simple, poor and ignorant a man may be, if he carries this love in his heart, then ‘he dwelleth in God, and God in him.’ Away from the One True God, it is impossible to love our enemies, declared the Staretz [St. Silouan]. The bearer of such love communicates in eternal life, to which his soul can testify. He is the tabernacle of the Holy Spirit, and in the Holy Spirit knows the Father and the Son, knows with authentic and life-giving knowledge. In the Holy Spirit he is the brother and friend of Christ – he is a son of God and a god through grace.