First, every man is said to be made in the image of God as regards the dignity of his intellect and soul–as regards, that is to say, the quality in man that cannot be scrutinized or observed, is immortal and endowed with free will, and in virtue of which he rules, begets and constructs.
Second, every man is said to be made in the likeness of God as regards his possession of the principle of virtue and as regards his imitation of God through virtuous and godlike actions. Such actions consist in having deep sympathy for one’s fellow men, in mercy, pity and love towards one’s fellow servant, and in showing heartfelt concern and compassion. ‘Be merciful,’ says Christ our God, ‘for the gifts of God are irrevocable’ (Romans 11:29).
But only a few–those who are virtuous and holy, and have imitated the goodness of God to the limit of human powers–possess that which is according to the likeness of God.
May we too be found worthy of His sublime compassion, having conformed ourselves to Him through good actions and become imitators of all who have ever been faithful servants of Christ. For mercy is His and to Him are due all glory, honor, and worship, together with His unoriginate Father and His all holy, blessed and life-creating Spirit, now and always and through all the ages. Amen.
~St John of Damaskos