(This is Neil) In his current column, Father John Breck provides a tenth excerpt from Archimandrite Lev Gillet’s Amour Sans Limites, originally published in 1971 under the name of “A Monk of the Eastern Church.” I’ve provided excerpts of his earlier excerpts – here are links to parts one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and nine.
As before, here is an excerpt from an article in Jacob’s Well by Fr Michael Plekon about Lev Gillet (the article doesn’t seem to be online any longer, so the link is to a cached copy):
Thoroughly a Westerner, a Frenchman, and formed in the Roman Catholic Church, though he became fluent in Russian, completely assimilated in Orthodox theology and liturgy and something of a cultural cosmopolitan, he really could not be taken as “one of our own” by any of the jurisdictions to which he was attached, whether that of the Lviv diocese and Uniov monastery of Metropolitan Andrei Szeptyky, the Western European Exarchate of Metropolitan Evlogy, the patriarchates of Moscow and Constantinople to which he was later connected. He was never formally excommunicated by Metropolitan Andrei and was never asked to formally renounce anything when received into the Orthodox church by concelebrating the liturgy and during it confessing the Creed.
Perhaps despite all the small details of his personality and disappointments of his ecclesiastical activity, Fr. Lev is nevertheless a kind of sign of both the schism and its healing. There is a well-known statement, attributed both to Metropolitan Platon of Kiev and Metropolitan Filaret of Moscow, cited by none other than Fr Lev’s own bishop, Metropolitan Evlogy of Paris:
Men like St. Seraphim of Sarov and St. Francis of Assisi and many others have in their lives accomplished the union of the churches. Are they not citizens of the same holy and universal Church? At the level of their spiritual life they have gone beyond the walls which divide us, but which, in the fine expression of Metropolitan Platon of Kiev, do not reach up to heaven.
Here, then, is part of Fr Breck’s tenth excerpt from Lev Gillet’s Amour Sans Limites:
My dear child, God declares, Love without limits breaks through the limitations of your words.
I place in your heart and on your lips various ‘ascensions’ or upward movements, so that every word you use ‘explodes’ toward the infinite heights, surpassing every previous word and drawing you on to an ever greater mission.
You go. Everywhere you go, may you experience yourself as sent to be a bearer of a sacred message.
You come. From wherever you come, may you feel you are awaited. Be aware that you walk towards a well-defined goal, and that already within yourself you are bound to that goal. Hurry along, then, toward this encounter I have prepared for you.
You see. What I want for you is that you behold, and that everything you behold might become within you attentive contemplation.
You hear. My desire for you is that you listen, that you listen from the depths, and that you truly wish to receive what is beyond the physical senses.
You talk. I want you rather to speak, and that you transform mundane words into a personal and intimate communication.
You see these verbs rise, one beyond the other, to ever greater clarity. At the highest point there is a verb beyond which one simply cannot go. This is the verb to give. For the gift, the very act of giving, abolishes all sense of personal possession. …