Perfect Love, and What it is in Action
I have seen [a man] who was so zealous and filled with desire for the salvation of his brethren that he often implored God, who loves man, with all his soul and with warm tears that either they might be saved or else that he be condemned with them. His attitude was like that of Moses (cf. Ex. 32:32; Num. 14:10ff.) and indeed of God Himself in that he did not in any way wish to be saved alone. Because he was spiritually bound to them by holy love in the Holy Spirit he did not want to enter into the kingdom of heaven itself if it meant that he would be separated from them. O sacred bond! O unutterable power! O soul of heavenly thoughts, or, rather, soul borne by God and greatly perfected in love of God and of neighbor!
He, then, who has not yet attained to this love, neither seen a trace of it in his own soul nor in any way felt its presence, is still earthbound and among the things of the earth. Nay, rather, his nature is to hide himself beneath the earth like the so-called blind rat, since he is blind like it and capable of hearing only those who speak on the earth. What a terrible misfortune that we who have been born of God and become immortal and partakers of a heavenly calling (Heb. 3:1), who are "heirs of God and fellow-heirs with Christ" (Rom. 8:17) and have become citizens of heaven (Phil. 3:20), have not yet come to the realization of so great blessings! We are, so to speak, without feeling, like iron that is thrown into fire, or like a lifeless hide that cannot feel it when it is dipped in scarlet dye. This is still our attitude though we find ourselves in the midst of such great blessings of God and admit that we have no feeling of it in ourselves! Though we boast as if we were already saved and numbered among the saints, and make pretense and adorn ourselves with affected holiness like those who spend their lives in misery as performers in the music hall or the theater, we are like clowns and harlots who have no natural beauty and foolishly think to beautify themselves with cosmetics and unnatural colors. How different are the features of the saints who have "been born from above" (Jn. 3:3)!
St. Symeon the New Theologian, The Discourses (The Classics of Western Spirituality), VIII On Perfect Love, and What it is in Action (Paulist Press, New York: 1980) pp. 144-145.