JESUS saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.
Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
“LOVEST thou Me?”
The question which Jesus asked Simon Peter is still being asked of each one of us.
It is the essential question. My answer to this question defines my relationship with the Saviour.
Do I dare to say with Peter: “Lord, Thou knowest all things, Thou knowest that I love Thee”.
But alas how often it happens that my life and deeds contradict such a statement!
Shall I humbly admit that I do not have this love? Shall I say with simplicity, perhaps truthfully: “No, Lord, I do not love thee”?
This radical denial does not quite produce the right sound.
For even in my worst failings the memory and image of the Saviour are never completely erased from my mind, do not cease to attract me.
What a complex situation for the sinner who, from the depths of his misery, and without having the strength to break his bonds, yet turns his head towards Him with whom he longs to be united.
The only answer which I can give is: “Lord, You know all things, You know that I want to love You; give me Your love”.
Fr Lev Gillet (“A Monk of the Eastern Church”), in “Jesus: A Dialogue with the Saviour”, Chapter XXIV, pp. 85-86.
I WILL love thee, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my firm support, and my refuge, and my deliverer; my God is my helper, I will hope in him; he is my defender, and the horn of my salvation, and my helper.
I will call upon the Lord with praises, and I shall be saved from mine enemies.
Alleluia! Behold the Bridegroom!
(18th century Russian)