Love and Perfection (Saint Clement of Rome)

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Let anyone truly possessed by the love of Christ keep his commandments. Who can express the binding power of divine Love? Who can find words for the splendor of its beauty? Beyond all description are the heights to which it lift us. Love unites us to God; it cancels innumerable sins, has no limits to its endurance, bears everything patiently. Love is neither servile nor arrogant. It does not provoke schisms or form cliques, but always acts in harmony with others. By it all God's chosen ones have been sanctified; without it, it is impossible to please Him. Out of love the Lord took us to himself; because he loved us and it was God's will, our Lord Jesus Christ gave His life's blood for us- he gave his body for our body, his soul for our soul.

See then, beloved, what a great and wonderful thing love is, and how inexpressible its perfection. Who are worthy to possess it unless God makes them so? To him therefore we must turn, begging of His mercy that there may be found in us a love free from human partiality and beyond reproach. Every generation from Adam's time to ours has passed away; but those who by God's grace were made perfect in love have a dwelling now among the saints, and when at the last the kingdom of Christ appears, they will be revealed.

Happy are we, beloved if love enables us to live in harmony and in the observance of God's commandments, for then it will also gain for us the remission of our sins. Scripture pronounces happy are those whose transgressions are pardoned, whose sins are forgiven. Happy the person, it says, to whom the Lord imputes no fault, on whose lips there is no guile. This is the blessing given those whom God has chosen through Jesus Christ, our Lord. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen."

- Saint Clement of Rome, circa 96