Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Long quote (worth the price of the book)

. . . the greatest and continuous obstacle in the way of our progress to love is egotism. Until egotism completely dies, you can't have true love for anyone. You must leave far behnd you the billows of the ocean of egotism, so that you can bask in the air which comes to you from the kingdom of love. He who loves himself, who is full of self-admiration, who considers himself as the most important of all, can't love others. To love others means to forget yourself, to always go beyond yourself, to consider yourself as nothing. The love of others is consolidated in us by uninterrupted repentance and humility. Egotism sees itself inflated to the extent that all reality is hidden. It thinks that it should own everything. It weighs every person to see how to use him, or at least it tries to avoid the danger which might come from his supremacy. In all things, in all actions, the egotist projects his own person; he sees and serves nothing else; he worships it, to him it is a god, or better said an idol in place of God. His own authentic nature is drowned in egotism. His concern for others is only a tactic, in order to really serve his own interests. Thus in a false way he fills his whole horizon with his inauthentic ego. He walls himself off on all sides with his false self. It's clear then that he can't see others for themselves, in a disinterested way, with true love, just as he can't see his authentic self within the framework of the loving community of all. Love is the exit from the magic and illusory circle of egotism, a circle which I extend to the infinite, as in a delusive dream. It is a breaking out into a true relationship, in communion with others. It is an exit from the shadowy prison of the ego and the entrance into the life of the community, of solidarity, into the kingdom of love, which includes everyone.
- Fr. Dumitru Staniloae, Orthodox Spirituality

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