Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Golden Words of Peter of Ravenna

"As resplendent as the excellence,
power, and magnificence of the Creator were
when one contemplated His works,
all the same the love of God was concealed,
and the charity of God kept hidden.
To give to his subjects,
to bestow things on servants
is what usually characterizes a donor;
to suffer for one's subjects, to die for one's servants,
this is a sign of immense charity
and evidence of a love that is unique....

Anyone can grant favors, anyone can bestow gifts,
any prosperous benefactor can love
those who are deferential to him;
but will he be comparable to Him
who took the adversities of His own people onto Himself;
who puts Himself forward
to block dangers threatening His own;
who hands Himself over to punishments for His own,
who confronts death face-to-face
in order to remove them from destruction
and preserve them for life?
Love is proved by adversities,
the weight of affection is determined
by the dangers endured,
perfect charity is confirmed by death....

That dominion is true
which commands by love, not by fear;
which subjects both bodies and hearts to itself
by means of affection;
which by loving furnishes servants for itself
who are not unwilling, but willing.
[Jesus died because] He wanted it to be known
how much God loved humanity,
since He wanted to be loved rather than feared."

~Saint Peter Chrysologus (fifth century)