Renunciation teaches us not only that we not greedily seek advantages for our soul but that we not be stingy, that we always be extravagant in our love, that we achieve a spiritual nakedness, that our soul holds nothing back, that we not hold back anything sacred and valuable which we would not be ready to give up in Christ’s name to those who need it. Spiritual renunciation is the way of holy foolishness, folly in Christ. It is the opposite of the wisdom of this age. It is the blessedness of those who are poor in spirit. It is the outer limit of love … According to material laws … if I give away a piece of bread, then I became poorer by one piece of bread … (and by extension) if I give my love, I have become impoverished by that amount of love, and if I give up my soul then I become completely ruined and have nothing left to save … According to the law of the spirit, every spiritual treasure given away not only returns to the giver like an unspent ruble but it grows and becomes stronger. He who gives receives back in return; he who becomes poor becomes wealthier. … In turning away from the exclusive focus upon Christ in a genuine act of self-negation and love, one offers himself to others…then one meets Christ himself face to face in the one for whom he offers himself and in that communion he unites with Christ himself … the mystery of union with man becomes the mystery of union with God. That which was given away returns. The love which was expended never diminishes the source of that love, because the source of love in our heart is Love itself, Christ … Here we are speaking about a genuine emptying out, in a partial imitation of how Christ emptied himself by becoming incarnate in humanity. We must likewise empty ourselves completely, becoming, so to speak, incarnate in another human soul, offering to it the full measure of God’s image which is contained in ourselves.
Excerpt taken from the essay: “Types of Religious Lives” by Mother Maria Skobtsova.