“Thou makest no distinction between Thy fathers and strangers, nor Thy Mother and maidservents, nor her that suckled Thee and the unclean. Was it Thy forwardness or Thy love, o Thou that lovest all? What moves Thee that Thou didst let all that saw Thee have Thee, both rich and poor? Thou helpest them that called thee not. … How great was Thy love, that if one rebuked Thee, Thou wast not wroth! If a man threatened Thee, Thou wast not terrified! … Thou art above the laws of the avengers of injuries. …
Come rest, and be still in the bosom of Thy mother, Son of the Glorious. Forwardness fits not the sons of kings. … When the wrathful came to see Thee, Thou madest them gladsome; … He that hath care came and saw Thee, and his care fled away. He that had anxiety; at Thee forgot his anxiety. … Thou who lovest men, hast bound men together by Thy gladsomeness.” ~St. Ephraim the Syrian
Love of All
The person St. Ephraim is talking about is Jesus. But it could also be one of several great saints and spiritual leaders.
We all say we value love above everything, yet few of us can honestly claim that we love everyone, and even fewer can say that we love all equally. Almost all would say that they love their spouse, their parents, their children, and their friends above others; and if they say otherwise, they are probably lying to themselves and to others. We are all guilty of favoritism, whether it is a favorite person, car, game, TV show, or movie. My dogs are my favorite furry folk, and I will protect them to the best of my ability from anyone or anything that tries to harm them. That is all human nature, enhanced by social norms and upbringing. But as nice as it sounds, it is this favoritism of ours that leads to us dividing into groups, waring against other groups, stealing from others, enslaving others. It is therefore something a spiritual person should seek to overcome.
Practicing spiritual growth techniques to fully awaken the soul are the best solution to this, but until that happens, there are things we can do on a lower level to improve the situation. First, before you step over the homeless person sleeping in the street, ask yourself if you would do the same if that person was your brother, sister, or father. Before you get angry with somebody saying something rude to you, recall the days when you were in a bad mood and said things you later regretted. Before you go to war with someone, ask if you would think it was a good idea for those people to war with you under the same circumstances. In short, consider how you would behave if the offending person was a relative or close friend. This goes for other species as well. Before you kick a stray dog, or throw rocks at a homeless cat, ask yourself if you would do the same if that was a human child seeking help. By doing this, you might learn to treat others more fairly, at least some of the time. Even a small step in the right direction is better than no movement at all.
Above the Avengers
St. Ephraim says that Jesus was above “the law of the avengers”, and He certainly was. It is a sad state we are in today where movies and television shows after treat vengeance as if it were a virtue and those who seek it as heroic, when they are anything but. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth is the philosophy of an idiot; it’s that simple. If every time a person offends us, we attack them, we create an endless cycle of vengeance and sink further into the mud pits instead of rising above them. It is even sadder that we in the United States have a presidential candidate who promotes the law of the avengers and has millions of supporters! The wording for the name of this post reflects that. You cannot be an avenger, and have love for your fellow beings, except in a very limited way. Practice love, and get over vengeance. Practice spiritual development and become one with all and you wont want to seek vengeance on yourself which is part of that whole.