All wisdom comes from the Lord, as has been said;
and through our own dealings, we are instructed to become wise
with respect to the Lord’s dealings with us.
Now the Father of truth deals with His sons in different ways.
For the profit of His sons He restrains Himself from uniformity that consists in always showing to them the same face.
Rather, to discipline them, He secretly withdraws His love.
Thus He displays the appearance of a state that does not really exist (i.e. that He is devoid of love);
but that which He is, He restrains.
A wise son recognizes his father’s care for him as well as
his discerning love in the changes of his behavior toward him.
The activity of true love, when rightly understood, will appear twofold:
in what causes joy but also in what causes sorrow.
That is to say, love is constantly ready to give pleasure to its beloved;
yet sometimes it causes its beloved to suffer for the very reason that it loves much,
and it suffers with its beloved even as it causes suffering.
It firmly resists the stirrings of natural compassion,
fearing lest its beloved should be harmed afterward.
Love, on the one hand, urges communion;
but knowledge, on the other, strengthens love to resist these sentiments.
The forms that are taken by wise love vary according to the voluntary changes in the recipients…
St. Isaac the Syrian