I just starting a new book by the contemporary Egyptian monastic elder, Matthew the Poor. He died in 2006, and Conciliar Press has published a collection of his talks under the title Words for Our Time. I plan on doing a full review soon but failed to make it past the first chapter before finding something I had to share:
The teachings of Christ are not the type of wisdom boasted of by worldly philosophy; rather, Christ’s wisdom is housed in very simple words. “Love your neighbor as yourself” — scholars can spend a lifetime writing complicated books about such phrases, discussing them in their colleges, and awarding doctor of divinity degrees. But it is only a few short words. The question is how to love? Who can achieve such an ideal? Many have done it, for the commandment requires not a large intellect, but a large heart and abundant courage.
Philosophy without action is meaningless. This is why James can say faith without works is dead. This is why Paul can say nothing ultimately profits except love. This is why all good theology is mystical theology. It is more than head knowledge; it is also participatory and experiential. It requires “a large heart and abundant courage.”
We’ve all met believers like this. I pray to become a believer like this.