Sunday, May 07, 2006


One of the Initiated, being asked what love is, answered:
Love is the divine fire which burns in the elect and banishes and destroys from their hearts every other impure desire.

Another said:
Love is fulfilling the will of the beloved.

Love is the power which springs from nature and overcomes the will. The mind cannot attain it, nor can the tongue explain it.

Another wept till he had become blind, stood till he was bent, fasted till he was wholly abstinent, and prayed till he was exhausted. During all this he did not become weary nor bored, but he said: I swear by You, Lord of Lords, if there were a stream of fire between me and You, I would come to you through it as if it were water.

The same person said:
The love of my Lord has alienated me to mankind and human things.

The same person said:
At the banquet of Love I have drunk goblets as it were from a flood; and as wine was not exhausted and I did not get drunk, I was overwhelmed by ecstasy. From desire of You I kept watch the whole night until the first light of dawn. And if I had looked at anything beside You, I would have been blinded.

An other has said:
When the love of God is awake in the heart, it is wholly filled with burning fire, and in an insupportable way it is kindled with joy, and it longs after the sight of the hidden things.

A certain brother said:
When the fatherly mercy dawned on me and took my mind from me, before it was swallowed up in ecstasy and stupefaction, my mind was swimming in a sea of light and plunging into and emerging from its waves, ascending and Iying down, rejoicing and exalting at the floods of its greatness. It beheld there radiant angels singing hymns of praise and it became familiar with them and said: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Zebaoth. And again the mind was taken, and it penetrated into the light of many rays and was stupefied by the sight of the Beautiful and captivated by the love of the High One and all, even itself, became as not existing. This state of the mind, namely the entrance without knowledge and the absence of impulses will sometimes last a short moment, sometimes one hour, or a whole day, according to the will of the spirit. Also after its return from that state it will remain without inclinations during nearly a whole week. And now the mind will be dark, and then it will be radiant. At first there will dawn in the heart something like a star with many rays and of wonderful beauty, then it will appear as a column of light and thereupon the mind will ascend and enter and be hidden in the cloud. And from that time gifts consisting in revelations and visions, prophecy and power of healing, are given to it.

Another has said:
Morning dawns and gives joy, light radiates and gladdens, the friend speaks and enflames, the good incites and exalts and shows Himself and what is His, in joy.

Another has said:
The fire of love does not permit him who burns with it, to accomplish his service. For as soon as he is standing to pray, his heart will begin to glow till it burns and enflames the whole body, so that he is not able to stand upon his feet but falls on the earth as dead; and his harp is broken and he lives only in madness; he thinks himself and what environs him to be in a fire, because of the living fire which is blown in him by Him who lives eternally For the Lord is my witness, that several times I have heard one of the brethren crying, when he was in the drunkenness of the love of Christ, so that he could not restrain himself because of the divine fire that burned in him: O. how burning is Your love, my Lord and my God, my life perishes from love of You, I cannot bear it! O for Your unspeakable beauty, let me enter Your chamber, o King, that I may rejoice and exult with You! — with other things which are not to be described.

Further it has been said:
Love makes the body and the senses silent, it elevates the mind so as to gaze on the inaccessible light of the beauty of the Desired. Mercy dawns unto it and takes it to the place without place, the world without denomination, the nature without beginning. And when the solitary reaches the divine cloud and enters the harbour of all service, and sees with his mind, face to face, the glory of the Lord and is made radiating by it, and is transformed into His likeness—then his mercy is poured out over all, like that of God. And the beloved above all shows him love, and the beasts of prey, cattle, the birds and obnoxious reptiles do not harm him, because they smell from him the scent of their creator Even stones and wood and all inanimate beings are dominated by him. Even rebellious demons show themselves obsequious unto him, because of the fear which is laid upon them. Wonderful is also the love shown unto him by the angels and the cry they utter unto him: Now let the heart rejoice of those who have sought the Lord in distress.

It has further been said:
Look at the fire which becomes one with the iron in the furnace. The iron alone is not to be recognized there, because it has assumed the likeness of the fire, by their union. So you see not two images but one, no discrimination being possible, though the two substances remain separated. In the same way the children of God see themselves as the image of God; so they become, all of them, gods, by the grace of their creator. And when their nature grows in glory, they are not aware of increase, even as those who grow up are not aware of the growth of their bodily stature; but they observe only that the glory of their person has become greater. And as it proceeds, love increases.

It has further been said
If anyone writes the mysteries of the spirit, without the spirit's dictating them to him, it will not mix its sweetness into his words and therefore they will not be loved by those who read them nor give delight to those who hear them. But if anyone learns the mysteries of the spirit from the Spirit, writing what it dictates to him, then the Spirit will mix itself into all his words and all those who hear him will smell its odours and their hearts will be filled by these words with life and their sound will eradicate the passions from them. And this is the pen of the ready writer with which he writes his holy book.

From: The Ethikon of Bar Hebraeus. IV, 15, 15. A collection of scattered sayings concerning Love.

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