Blessed Diadochos on love for God and neighbor

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A certain poslushnik [one under obedience, a monastic novice] asked the elder, "Who, father, can obey all of the Commandments, when there are so many of them?" The Elder answered, "One who emulates our Lord Jesus Christ and follows after Him at every step." The puzzled poslushnik again asked, "But who can emulate the Lord? After all, the Lord was God, although He had become man, while I am a sinful man, enslaved by countless passions. How can I emulate the Lord?" The Elder explained, "No one enslaved by vanity can emulate the Lord. Only those who can say along with the Apostles, "behold, we have forsaken all, and followed Thee' (Matthew 19:27), receive the strength to emulate the Lord and to follow all of His Commandments." Then the poslushnik said, "But father, the Lord has many Commandments, and who – especially one as weak as I - can remember, not to mention obey, them all? I would like to hear from you a short instruction, so that, following it, I might be saved." The Elder replied, "Although the Commandments are many, they are all contained in one: 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with …all thy strength, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself' (Luke 10: 27). One who strives to obey that Commandment is fulfilling all of the others. However, one who does not completely free himself from attachment to the material cannot truly love either God or his neighbor. Therefore, don't concern yourself completely with the earthly, but taking on yourself the podvig of which you are capable, turn your whole mind toward the internal, for, as the Apostle says, physical exercise is of little use, while piety is of use in all things.

From the Editors: There is little extant reliable information about the life of Blessed Diadochos. Holy Hierarch Photios (9 C.) of Constantinople referred to him as "Bishop of Photiki in Ancient Epirus.” Blessed Diadochos was born circa 400 AD. In the late '60s or early '70s of the 5th Century, during the Vandal assault upon Epirus, Blessed Diadochos was captured and taken to Carthage. It is generally considered that Blessed Diadochos reposed in the mid 480s.

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