Remember the Love of God by St. Tikhon of Zadonsk

Everywhere and in every endeavor remember the Lord your God and His holy love for us. Everything that you may see in heaven and on earth and in your house awakens you to the remembrance of the Lord your God and His holy love. We are enveloped in God's love. Every creature of God bears witness to His love for us. When you see God's creation and make use of it, say to yourself thus: This is the work of the hands of the Lord my God, and it was created for my sake.

These luminaries of the heavens, the sun, the moon, and the stars, are the creations of the Lord my God, and they illumine all the world and me. This earth on which I live, which bears fruit for me and my cattle, and all that may be upon it, is the creation of the Lord my God. This water which waters me and my cattle is a blessing of my Lord. This cattle which serves me is the, creation of my Lord and was given by Him to serve me. This house in which I live is God's blessing and was given me by Him for my repose. This food which I taste is God's gift to me given for the strengthening and consolation of my weak flesh. This garment with which I am clothed the Lord my God gave me for the sake of covering my naked body. And so on.

This icon is the image of Christ; the image of my Saviour, Who for my sake came to this unfortunate world to save me who have perished, and He suffered and died for me, and so He redeemed me from sin, the devil, death and hell. I worship His unspeakable love for man.

This icon is the image of the Theotokos, the image of that Most-Holy Virgin, who gave birth in the flesh without seed to Jesus Christ my Lord and God. Blessed among women is the Mother that bore God incarnate, and blessed is the fruit of her womb (Lk. 1:42)! Blessed is the womb that bore my Lord, and the paps which He has sucked (Lk. 11:27)!

This is the icon of the Forerunner; it is the image of that great prophet who was sent from God before the face of my Saviour Jesus Christ, and to the people he preached Him already come into the world, and pointed Him out, saying, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world!" (Jn. 1:29), and he was found worthy to baptize Him in the streams of the Jordan.

This is the icon of the apostle; it is the image of the disciple of my Saviour, who saw Him in person, who went with Him, and saw Him work miracles, and heard Him preach, saw Him suffer for the salvation of the world, and rise from the dead and ascend into heaven. This is the icon of the martyr; it is the image of that struggler who withstood even to blood for the honor of my Saviour Jesus Christ, and did not spare even his own holy life for His name, and he established our pious faith as true by pouring forth his own blood; and so on.

This word, the Sacred Scripture which I hear, is the word of God, it is the word of His mouth. The mouth of my Lord spoke this, and through it my God speaks to me, "The law of Thy mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver" (LXX-Ps. 118:72 [KJV-Ps. 119:72]). O Lord, grant me ears to hear Thy holy word.

This holy house, the church in which I stand, is the temple of God in which prayer and glorification are offered up to my God in common from the faithful, my brethren. These voices, this glorification and common prayer are those voices by which hymns, thanksgiving, praise and glorification are sent up to the holy name of my God.

This consecrated man, the bishop or priest, is the closest servant of my God, who offers prayers to Him for me a sinner and for all the world. This man, the preacher of the word of God, is the messenger of my God, who makes known the way of salvation to me and to the rest of the people my brethren.

This brother of mine, every man, is the beloved creature of my God, and like myself is a creature created after the image and likeness of God. And having fallen he was redeemed, like myself, by the Blood of the Son of God my Saviour, and is called to everlasting life by the Word of God. I must love him as the beloved creature of my God, love him as I love myself. And I must not do to him anything that I myself do not love, and I must do to him what I desire for myself, for that is what my God commanded me. In a word, every occasion and every thing can and must inspire you to a loving remembrance of the Lord your God, and must show you His love toward you, since even His chastisement comes from His love toward us. According to the Scripture, "Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth" (Heb. 12:6). Remember, then, everywhere and on every occasion and in all things, the name of the Lord your God. Take care not to forget your Benefactor when you enjoy His benefactions, lest you appear ungrateful to Him; for forgetfulness of a benefactor is a clear sign of ingratitude.

God is your creator, deliverer, supreme benefactor, and good provider. He created you just as He gives you every good thing, since without His goodness you could not live even for a minute. You do not see your Benefactor with these eyes, but you see the benefits He has given you. You see the sun, the moon and His stars which illumine you. You see the fire that warms you and cooks your food. You see the food which satisfies you, you see the clothing by which your naked body is covered. You see all other countless blessings which He gave you for your needs and comfort.

Seeing, then, and receiving these benefits, remember your unseen Benefactor everywhere and always with love, and thank Him for all His benefits with a pure heart. The greatest and highest of all His blessings is that by His good will Christ, His Only-Begotten Son, came to us and redeemed us by His precious Blood and suffering from the devil, hell, and death. In this work He showed us His unspeakable goodness to us. We must, then, always gaze with faith upon this great work of God so incomprehensible to the mind, and remember God Who so loved us unworthy ones. We must thank Him from our whole heart, worship Him, praise, hymn, and glorify Him with out heart and lips. "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David" (Lk. 1:68-69).

You, too, should always remember this great work of God and marvel at it, and thank God from your heart, and live as it pleases God, Who came into the world to save sinners, lest you offend Him with your ingratitude. He desires to save you, since He came into the world for your sake, and suffered and died in His holy flesh. You should fulfil His holy will, then, and take care for the salvation of your soul with all diligence. Be thankful to Him, and live in the world humbly, with love, meekly and patiently, as He Himself lived. He also desires the same of you.

Endeavor to please God with faith and obedience, that is, do what He desires and what is pleasing to Him, and do not do what He does not desire and what is not pleasing to Him. Without obedience, whatever a man may do is not pleasing to God.

from: Journey to Heaven Counsels On the Particular Duties of Every Christian Our Father Among the Saints, Tikhon of Zadonsk, Bishop of Voronezh and Elets Jordanville, NY: Holy Trinity Monastery, 2004.