Against the Western Concept of Atonement: Turning Man who Believed Himself the Object of Hate

Just as human affection, when it abounds, overpowers those who love and causesthem to be beside themselves, so God's love for men emptied God (Phil 2:7).... He seeks love in return and does not withdraw when He is treated with disdain. Heis not angry over ill treatment, but even when He has been repulsed He sits by the door (cf. Rev 3:20) and does everything to show us that He loves, evenenduring suffering and death to prove it....

It was necessary, then, that the greatness of His love should not remainhidden, but that He should give the proof of the greatest love and by loving display the utmost measure of love. So He devised this self-emptying and carried it out, and made the instrument [i.e., Christ's human nature] by which He might be able to endure terrible things and to suffer pain. When he had thus proved by the things which He endured that He indeed loves exceedingly, He turned man, who had fled from the Good One because he had believed himself to be the object of hate, towards Himself....

What could be equal to that affection? What has a man ever loved so greatly? What mother ever loved so tenderly (Is. 49:15), what father so loved his children? Who has ever been seized by such a mania of love for anything beautiful whatever, so that because of it he not only willingly allows himself to be wounded by the object of his love without swerving from his affection towards the ungrateful one, but even prizes the very wounds above everything?

- From The Life in Christ by St. Nicholas Cabisalis, tr. Carmino J. deCatanzaro (Crestwood, NY: SVS Press, 1974.) pp.162-4.