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Greek CommunityChurchThe Two Wings of Love - Saint Kosmas Aitolos

The Two Wings of Love – Saint Kosmas Aitolos

Hellenic News
Hellenic News
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The most gracious and merciful God, my brethren, has many and various names. He is called light, life, and resurrection. But God’s chief name is, and he is called, love. If we wish to live well here also and to go to paradise, and to call our God love and father, we should have two loves: love for God and for our brethren. It is natural for us to have these two loves and unnatural not to have them. And just as a swallow needs two wings to fly in the air so do we need these two loves, because without them it is impossible for us to be saved.

First, it is our duty to love our God because he has given us such a large earth here to live on temporarily: so many thousands of plants, springs, rivers, seas, air, day, night, sky, sun, etc. For whom did he create all of these if not for us? What did he owe us? Nothing. They are all gifts. He made us human beings; he didn’t make us animals. He made us pious Orthodox Christians and not impious heretics. Although we sin thousands of times an hour he has compassion for us like a father, and he doesn’t put us to death and place us in hell. But he waits for our repentance with open arms, for the time when we shall repent, when we shall stop committing evil and do good, to go to confession, to be restored so that he will embrace us to put us in paradise to rejoice forever. Now, shouldn’t we too love this sweetest God and master? And if there is need, [shouldn’t we] shed our blood a thousand times for his love as he shed his for our love?

A man invites you to his home and wants to treat you to a glass of wine. For the rest of your life you will respect him and honor him. Shouldn’t you honor and respect God who gave you so many good things and who was crucified for your love? What father was ever crucified for his children? But our sweetest Jesus Christ shed his blood and ransomed us from the hands of the devil. Now shouldn’t we too love our Christ? But we not only don’t love him, we insult him every day with the sins that we commit.

But whom do you want us to love, my brethren? Should we love the devil who put us out of paradise and brought us to this accursed world where we suffer so much evil? Moreover, the devil is so disposed that if he could this very minute cause our death and put us into hell, he would do it. Now I ask you, my brethren, to tell me what we should do: to love the devil, our enemy, or to love God, our author and creator?

“[God] of course, O saint of God; you speak well.”

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May your blessings be upon me. I agree too, but God also needs a couch to rest upon. What is that couch? Love. Let us, therefore, also have love for God and our brethren and then God will come and gladden us, and plant in our hearts eternal life. We then shall live well here on earth and we will go to paradise to rejoice forever.

But we not only don’t have love but have hatred and malice in our hearts and we hate our brethren. The cunning devil comes and makes us bitter and plants death in our soul, and we live badly here on earth and go to hell and burn forever.

….Even if we perform thousands upon thousands of good works, my brethren: fasts, prayers, almsgiving; even if we shed our blood for our Christ and we don’t have these two loves, but on the contrary have hatred and malice toward our brethren, all the good we have done is of the devil and we go to hell.

But, you say, we go to hell despite all the good we do because of that little hatred? Yes, my brethren, because that hatred is the devil’s poison, and just as when we put a little yeast in a hundred pounds of flour it has such power that it causes all the dough to rise, so it is with hatred. It transform all the good we have done into the devil’s poison.”

– From Father Kosmas the Apostle of the Poor: The Life of St. Kosmas Aitolos Together With an English Translation of His Teaching and Letters by Nomikos Michael Vaporis, Brookline, MA: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1977.

The copyrights for these articles are owned by the Hellenic News of America. They may not be redistributed without the permission of the owner. The opinions expressed by our authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hellenic News of America and its representatives.

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