ARTICLES AND BOOKS
[ARCHPRIEST THEODORE GIGNADZE]
I just told you that if we look through our history and recall, if we had written down, let’s say, even from the tenth grade, “I woke up, my mom made me breakfast, I had my breakfast, before that I brushed my teeth,” but some kids don’t even brush their teeth, their parents don’t teach them to, “then I went to school, I was feeling lazy, then I hung out with my friends or chatted with my girlfriends, I made my teacher upset, then they gave us some homework and, oh, it was so hard, I did not like it, and so on … Then there.” If we keep writing down all these little things and read this today, our hearts would burst. “What did I waste my time on!” This prudence, this heart which could to love, could love, this prudence which could do so many things, were given to me by God for doing all this nonsense?
But a person may say something like this and he would be absolutely right, “This is all true, I have wasted time on so many things, doing nonsense, but there was one detail that overweighs all of this.”
“What?” a person will ask.
“Well, while doing all these silly things, at the same time I loved my mother, I loved my father, my little newborn brother, I loved him very much too, and I was happy to see human beings, individuals. I had a good teacher at school who taught me to love my country, and I loved her too. Then, then I saw a girl at my school, and I fell in love with her, and I fought someone because of her,” and I happily remember this as well, and it was good, “then I was still little, everyone was making fun of me, and one of my teachers came up to me, patted my head and told me that loving someone is not bad but good, and I felt even happier. Then I had some ideas, maybe wrong ones, then I became interested in art of something, then in philosophy, then I made friends, then I learned to sacrifice myself for friends, then I realized that at a certain moment I may face the bullet for my friend, die for my love.”
So, all this terrible daily uniformity is disgusting and does not differ from the animal-like existence. We find out that there’s one thing, one thing that beautifies everything, and this one thing for which it is worth living this helpless, pointless life, is called love.
Where is the solution? Love is the solution! When a person loves he does not get bored with anything.
Imagine, you see a boy and a girl in love with each other. I mean not what they call love today and no one can understand what it is, but real love, you do believe at least theoretically that it exists, right? Imagine a boy and a girl who love each other, and listen to what they are talking about. It turns out that they spend the whole day in doing nothing but nonsense, talking about nonsense. They twitter about silly things, they eat together, the whole day they walk around, then they each go home, they are in love, then the whole night they talk to each other over the phone, then the next day being sleepless, they meet again and so on, and if you ask them “Have you gone crazy? It’s been so long, the whole week I have been observing you, you talk about silly things, you don’t do anything special, unlike other smart people you just keep staring at each other like silly ones. Aren’t you bored of each other? Stay away from each other right now!” Will they stay away from each other? No! If I have not tasted this fruit – love, if I really am a beast, I will not know, I will think these people are probably crazy, they are schizoid or there is something wrong with them. We discover that not only they don’t get bored with each other, but they just cannot breathe without each other. Why? What do they do? Nothing, just like other creatures on earth they just wander around pointlessly, but they love each other and this love gives the meaning to their existence, and something else is born in them which is called not the existence, but life.
“Oh, Father, stop telling us those fairy tales!” a person will say. “Come on, how old are you? You are already 50 years old, about to turn 51. Haven’t you realized that such a thing can hardly exist on earth?”
First of all, I would like to tell you that it does exist and thank God for this! But I agree with you in one thing, the cases where this kind of love exists may be so few in world history that they can be countable on the fingers of your hands, and they can hardly exist in reality. Shakespeare was a faithful person and a genius. He wrote “Romeo and Juliet”. Couldn’t he make Romeo and Juliet happy and not make us cry? Why this misfortune? Because Shakespeare as a faithful, first of all as a genius, I would say, and then as a faithful person he knew very well that real love has no place here, on earth of the beasts and above all, it has no perspective either. This is why this genius ended the story tragically, and thus, he told us that the ultimate end of real love here, on earth is tragic.
Who had the greatest love and what was the peak of love in mankind?
The death of Christ on the cross, the love of Christ towards men, and how tragically did it end! Love is the solution, but there is no love, to say it more correctly, there is love, but it does not flourish on earth. This is the flower that does not flourish on the soil of earth. This is a flower that one can plant only in heaven and it will flourish there, it will not be able to flourish here, but this is a flower that never dies, and it has the ability to be replanted to heaven.
I mentioned crucifixion, before that – “Romeo and Juliet”. There’s self-sacrifice in both. Love does not exist without self-sacrifice. Love without self-sacrifice is consumptive attitude towards each other – “I want you and I need you, and you as well want me and need me. When you no longer want me and need me you will throw me away like an empty pot. There’s no more food in there. What do I need it for?”
Love is present only there where there is no “I need you and I want you”.
“Father, then what is love?” a person will ask.
“You need me and I will die for you!” – this is where love is, in complete self-sacrifice and in sacrificing that pointless biological animal-like existence, what Shakespeare’s couple did, and what the Lord did.
When you have the ability to sacrifice for the sake of love, without which our life becomes beast-like and completely loses its meaning, when you sacrifice this biological existence for love, only then does love exist.
I mentioned crucifixion and obviously we remember the One who is the source of love, who Himself is called Love. We are talking about God, and our attitude towards God. The genius, Dostoevsky says “Whoever loves life, he has completed half of his job”, and in “life” he means precisely this, real life, life as a revelation of love, life that brings forth love, life that can hold love, life which is the synonym for love.
So, this means that we cannot speak about love without God, because God is love, and without love we cannot speak about life, and without real life we cannot speak about human existence. Otherwise it becomes the existence of the beasts, and these beasts that don’t want God and don’t want real love of God, when all their interests are in biological pleasures, cyclic pleasures, they will turn into the unity of the beasts and they will bring forth the beast, and if I don’t want this, then I should seek real love, in other words, seek God, seek the relationship with God, seek love, seek the love with God.