Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On this Holy Saturday my reading has taken me to this from St. Isaac:
Quote:That we should say or think that the matter of Gehenna is not in reality full of love and mingled with compassion would be an opinion full of blasphemy and an insult to Our Lord God. By saying that He will even hand us over to burning for the sake of sufferings, torment and all sorts of ills, we are attributing to Divine Nature an enmity towards the very rational beings which He created through grace, the same is true if we say He acts or thinks with spite and with a vengeful purpose, as though He was avenging Himself. Among all His actions there is none that is not entirely a matter of mercy, love and compassion: this constitutes the beginning and end of His dealings with us.
How different is this from the conceptions with which I grew up, where God was seen as a vengeful God who would punish us in hell-fire if we did not repent. Here, Orthodoxy seems to me to be offering us a wider, deeper and broader understanding of the God who suffered impassibly on Good Friday.
To reject His love is to impose suffering upon oneself; but He always offers us forgiveness if we will repent and follow Him.
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)