One of the Jewish scribes, wishing to test Christ, asked Him before the people, “Master, what commandment is great before the law?” And Jesus answered, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” The second such basic commandment is, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” On these two commandments rest all the law and the prophets ”(Matt. 22: 37-40).
Love for God is expressed through inner and outer worship of God. Inner worship is encompassed by three main virtues: faith, hope, and love. In faith lies the foundation of love, and in hope the purpose of love. Faith and its truths do not act upon us compulsorily, but are given to our free will; hope inspires. Faith gives man strength for martyrdom and is stronger than any knowledge. Love is man’s natural desire for God as his archetype (Gen. 1:27). Through faith man enters into the mysteries of divine knowledge, and through love into the mysteries of divine life. The main property of love is the migration of one’s own “I” into another being. It is the highest of all Christian virtues.
External worship is expressed in prayer, accompanied by religious rites, ie. with the participation of the body in it, following the example of Christ Himself (Luke 22:41) and His Apostles (Acts 9:40; 21: 5, etc.). The best means for man’s communion with God and for expressing his love for Him is prayer – it brings us closer to God, unites us with Him.
Prayer in a pure and sublime form is the selfless conversation of the human soul with God. The conditions for true prayer are: faith in receiving the begged (Matt. 21:22) sense of humility, separation from the earthly (Luke 21:34), concentration in prayer (Matt. 6: 9), surrendering oneself to the will of God. and reconciliation with all men (Matt. 5:24).
The hallmarks of the prayer heard are: inner peace of mind – peace of God, joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17), increase of spiritual strength and, finally, inner enlightenment of God (John 14:23), but to achieve the above it is necessary is a spiritual experience and continuous exercise in prayer and contemplation.
Knowledge of God’s law alone will not save us until we are dulled to do God’s will. On the contrary, knowledge without fulfillment will condemn us by the words of Christ: “The servant who knew the will of his master, and was not ready, and did not do according to his will, will be beaten greatly… And by anyone who much is given, much will be required, and to whom much is entrusted, more will be required of him ”(Luke 12: 47-48).