November 9, 2022

On Divine Eros (St. Nektarios of Aegina)

 By St. Nektarios of Aegina

Divine eros is perfect love of the Divine, manifested as an unceasing desire of the Divine. Divine eros is born in the pure heart, because in it divine grace descends. The eros for the Divine is a divine gift, which is bestowed upon the pure soul by the divine grace that descends and reveals itself to the soul. Divine eros without divine revelation is not born in any man. Because a soul that has not received revelation, has not received the influence of grace and remains apathetic towards divine eros. It is therefore impossible for eros to be born without a force acting upon the heart, whether divinea force or human.

The lovers of the Divine were drawn to divine eros by the divine grace which acted upon their hearts, revealed itself to their souls, and drew them to God. The lover of the Divine first was loved by the Divine, and then he fell in love with the Divine. The lover of the Divine first became a son of love, and then he loved the heavenly Father.

The heart of one who falls in love with the Lord never sleeps, but is always awake, because of excessive love. Man sleeps for the needs of nature, but the vigilant heart praises the Divine.

Divine Chrysostom says about spiritual eros: "Spiritual eros is so imposing that it does not let a moment pass, but always dominates the soul of the lover, and does not allow any sorrow or pain to prevail in the soul."

A soul in love with God clings firmly to God, in Him she trusts, in Him she rests every hope. Her divine eros raises her to God and she converses with Him day and night.

A soul wounded by divine eros desires nothing but the highest good. She neglects all things, is disgusted by everything.

A soul in love with God studies the words of God and abides in His dwelling place. When she speaks, she recounts the wonders of God. When she talks, she refers to His glory and majesty. Praises and hymns she unceasingly refers to God, and with divine desire she worships Him. And so divine eros adjusts the whole soul to itself, connecting it to itself and appropriating it.

A soul in love with the Divine knows the Divine well, and such awareness ignited her divine love. A soul in love with God became blessed, because she achieved what she desired, and this fulfilled her desires. Every desire, every fervent longing, every appeal foreign to divine eros is rejected by her as insignificant and unworthy before it.

How much the soul is elevated that is in love with the Divine or elevated towards Divine love that exchanges divine love! This divine love like a light cloud lifts the soul, brings her close to the inexhaustible source of love, close to eternal love, and fills her with eternal light.

A soul wounded by divine eros always rejoices and is glad and sings and dances, because it rests permanently on the love of the Lord "as if resting on water." Nothing sad in the world is able to disturb her serenity and peace, nothing sad in the world is able to take away her joy and cheerfulness.

A soul in love with the Divine is lifted up by love, somewhat emerges from the physical senses, somewhat departs from the body itself and forgets herself, because of her perfect devotion to the Divine.

The indescribable sweetness of divine eros subdues and conquers the heart, and draws the mind to the Divine, to enjoy God with joy.

Divine eros produces familiarity with God, familiarity produces courage, courage produces taste, taste produces hunger.

A soul touched by divine eros can no longer contemplate or desire anything else, but with constant sighs says: “Lord, when shall I arrive and appear before your face? My soul longs to
come to you, my God, as the deer longs to reach the fountains of waters."

Such is the divine eros that dominates the soul.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.