Category Archives: St. Maximos the Confessor

St. Maximos the Confessor: The person who loves God cannot help loving every man as himself . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the Confessor“The person who loves God cannot help loving every man as himself, even though he is grieved by the passions of those who are not yet purified. But when they amend their lives, his delight is indescribable and knows no bounds.”

+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 1.13, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

 

St. Maximos the Confessor: The person who loves God values knowledge of God more than anything created . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the Confessor“The person who loves God values knowledge of God more than anything created by God, and pursues such knowledge ardently and ceaselessly.”

+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 1.4, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. Maximus the Confessor: As I man I deliberately transgressed the divine commandment . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the ConfessorAs man I deliberately transgressed the divine commandment, when the devil, enticing me with the hope of divinity (cf. Gen. 3:5), dragged me down from my natural stability into the realm of sensual pleasure; and he was proud to have thus brought death into existence, for he delights in the corruption of human nature. Because of this, God became perfect man, taking on everything that belongs to human nature except sin (cf. Heb. 4:15); and indeed sin is not part of human nature, In this way, by enticing the insatiable serpent with the bait of the flesh. He provoked him to open his mouth and swallow it. This flesh proved poison to him, destroying him utterly by the power of the Divinity within it; but to human nature it proved a remedy restoring it to its original grace by that same power of the Divinity within it. For just as the devil poured out his venom of sin on the tree of knowledge and corrupted human nature once it had tasted it, so when he wished to devour the flesh of the Master he was himself destroyed by the power of the Divinity within it.

+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Various Texts on Theology, the Divine Economy, and Virtue and Vice 1.11, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. Maximos the Confessor: Sometimes men are tested by pleasure, sometimes by distress . . .

St. Maximos the Confessor 10“Sometimes men are tested by pleasure, sometimes by distress or by physical suffering. By means of His prescriptions the Physician of souls administers the remedy according to the cause of the passions lying hidden in the soul.”

+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 2.44, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. Maximus the Confessor: . . . For I reckon it hatred towards man and a departure from Divine love to lend support to error, so that those previously seized by it might be even more greatly corrupted.

Icon of St. Maximos the Confessor“I write these things not wishing to cause distress to the heretics or to rejoice in their ill-treatment — God forbid; but, rather, rejoicing and being gladdened at their return. For what is more pleasing to the Faithful than to see the scattered children of God gathered again as one? Neither do I exhort you to place harshness above the love of men. May I not be so mad!

I beseech you to do and to carry out good to all men with care and assiduity, becoming all things to all men, as the need of each is shown to you; I want and pray you to be wholly harsh and implacable with the heretics only in regard to cooperating with them or in any way whatever supporting their deranged belief. For I reckon it hatred towards man and a departure from Divine love to lend support to error, so that those previously seized by it might be even more greatly corrupted.”

+ St. Maximus the Confessor, Patrologia Graeca, Vol. 91 col. 465c

St. Maximos the Confessor: Even if the whole universe holds communion with the [heretical] Patriarch . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the ConfessorEven if the whole universe holds communion with the [Latinizing] Patriarch, I will not communicate with him. For I know from the writings of the holy Apostle Paul: the Holy Spirit declares that even the angels would be anathema if they should begin to preach another Gospel, introducing some new teaching.

+ St. Maximos the Confessor, The Life of Our Holy Father St. Maximus the Confessor (Boston: Holy Transfiguration, 1982)

St. Maximos the Confessor: . . . I shall sooner agree to die than to apostatize in any way from the true Faith and thereby suffer torments of conscience.

Icon of St. Maximos the ConfessorWhen all the people in Babylon were worshiping the golden idol, the Three Holy Children did not condemn anyone to perdition. They did not concern themselves with the doings of others, but took care only for themselves, lest they should fall away from true piety. In precisely the same way, when Daniel was cast into the lion’s den, he did not condemn any of those who, fulfilling the law of Darius, did not wish to pray to God, but he kept in mind his own duty, and desired rather to die than to sin against his conscience by transgressing the Law of God. God forbid that I should condemn anyone or say that I alone am being saved! However, I shall sooner agree to die than to apostatize in any way from the true Faith and thereby suffer torments of conscience.

+ St. Maximos the Confessor, The Life of Our Holy Father St. Maximus the Confessor (Boston: Holy Transfiguration, 1982)

St. Maximos the Confessor: The demons attack the person who . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the ConfessorThe demons attack the person who has attained the summits of prayer in order to prevent his conceptual images of sensible things from being free from passion; they attack the gnostic so that he will dally with impassioned thoughts; and they attack the person who has not advanced beyond the practice of the virtues so as to persuade him to sin through his actions. They contend with all men by every possible means in order to separate them from God.

+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 2.90, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. Maximos the Confessor: The sensible man, taking into account the remedial effect of the divine prescriptions, gladly bears the sufferings . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the ConfessorThe sensible man, taking into account the remedial effect of the divine prescriptions, gladly bears the sufferings which they bring upon him, since he is aware that they have no cause other than his own sin. But when the fool, ignorant of the supreme wisdom of God’s providence, sins and is corrected, he regards either God or men as responsible for the hardships he suffers.

+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 2.46, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. Maximus the Confessor: Inasmuch as you pray with all your soul for the one who has slandered you . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the Confessor“To the extent that you pray with all your soul for the person who slanders you, God will make the truth known to those who have been scandalized by the slander. ”

+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 4.89, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. Maximus the Confessor: A soul that is nurtured by hatred toward man . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the Confessor“The deiform soul cannot nurse hatred against a man and yet be at peace with God, the giver of the commandments. ‘For’, He says, ‘if you do not forgive men their faults, neither will your heavenly Father forgive you your faults’ (cf. Matt. 6:14-15). If your brother does not wish to live peaceably with you, nevertheless guard yourself against hatred, praying for him sincerely and not abusing him to anybody.”

+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 4.35, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. Maximus the Confessor: If you are remembering evil against someone . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the Confessor“If you are remembering evil against someone, then pray for him; and as you remove through prayer the pain of the remembrance of the evil he has done, you will stop the advance of the passion. And when you have attained brotherly love and love for mankind, you will completely cast this passion out of your soul. Then when someone else does evil to you, be affectionate and humble toward him, and treat him kindly, and you will deliver him from this passion.”

+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 3.90, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. Maximos the Confessor: There are three things which produce love of material wealth . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the Confessor“It is not so much because of need that gold has become an object of desire among men, as because of the power it gives most people to indulge in sensual pleasure. There are three things which produce love of material wealth: self-indulgence, self-esteem and lack of faith.  Lack of faith is more dangerous than the other two.

The self-indulgent person loves wealth because it enables him to live comfortably; the person full of self-esteem loves it because through it he can gain the esteem of others; the person who lacks faith loves it because, fearful of starvation, old age, disease, or exile, he can save it and hoard it.  He puts his trust in wealth rather than in God, the Creator who provides for all creation, down to the least of living things.

There are four kinds of men who hoard wealth: the three already mentioned and the treasurer or bursar.  Clearly, it is only the last who conserves it for a good purpose–namely, so as always to have the means of supplying each person’s basic needs.”

+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 3.16-19, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. Maximos the Confessor: He who gives alms in imitation of God . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the Confessor“He who gives alms in imitation of God does not discriminate between the wicked and the virtuous, the just and the unjust, when providing for men’s bodily needs. He gives equally to all according to their need, even though he prefers the virtuous man to the bad man because of the probity of his intention.”

+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 1.24, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. Maximos the Confessor: Let yourself die while striving . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the Confessor“Let yourself die while striving, rather than living in laziness. For those who die while trying to keep the commandments are just as much martyrs as those who died for Christ’s sake.”

— St. Maximos the Confessor

St. Maximos the Confessor: Every genuine confession humbles the soul. . .

Icon of St. Maximos the Confessor“Every genuine confession humbles the soul. When it takes the form of thanksgiving, it teaches the soul that it has been delivered by the grace of God.”

+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Various Texts on Theology, the Divine Economy, and Virtue and Vice 3.62, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. Maximos the Confessor: You should know that you have been greatly benefited . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the Confessor“You should know that you have been greatly benefited when you have suffered deeply because of some insult or indignity; for by means of the indignity self-esteem has been driven out of you.”

+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 1.30, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. Maximos the Confessor: When you are insulted by someone or humiliated . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the Confessor“When you are insulted by someone or humiliated, guard against angry thoughts, lest they arouse a feeling of irritation, and so cut you off from love and place you in the realm of hatred.”

+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 1.29, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. Maximos the Confessor: Many human activities, good in themselves, are not good because of the motive . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the Confessor“Many human activities, good in themselves, are not good because of the motive for which they are done. For example, fasting and vigils, prayer and psalmody, acts of charity and hospitality are by nature good, but when performed for the sake of self-esteem they are not good.”

+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 2.35, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. Maximos the Confessor: Almost every sin is committed for the sake of sensual pleasure . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the Confessor“Almost every sin is committed for the sake of sensual pleasure; and sensual pleasure is overcome by hardship and distress arising either voluntarily from repentance, or else involuntarily as a result of some salutary and providential reversal. ‘For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged; but when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, so that we should not be condemned with the world.’ (1 Cor. 11:31-32).'”

+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 2.41, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. Maximos the Confessor: If God suffers in the flesh . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the Greek“If God suffers in the flesh when He is made man, should we not rejoice when we suffer, for we have God to share our sufferings? This shared suffering confers the kingdom on us. For he spoke truly who said, ‘If we suffer with Him, then we shall also be glorified with Him’ (Rom. 8:17).”

+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 1.24, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. Maximus the Confessor: If an unexpected temptation comes . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the Confessor“When a trial comes upon you unexpectedly, do not blame the person through whom it came but try to discover the reason why it came, and then you will find a way of dealing with it. For whether through this person or through someone else you had in any case to drink the wormwood of God’s judgments.”

+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 2.42, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. Maximos the Confessor: . . . five reasons why God allows us to be assailed by demons

Icon of St. Maximos the Confessor“There are said to be five reasons why God allows us to be assailed by demons. The first is so that, by attacking and counterattacking, we should learn to discriminate between virtue and vice. The second is so that, having acquired virtue through conflict and toil, we should keep it secure and immutable. The third is so that, when making progress in virtue, we should not become haughty but learn humility. The fourth is so that, having gained some experience of evil, we should ‘hate it with perfect hatred’ (cf. Ps. 139:22). The fifth and most important is so that, having achieved dispassion, we should forget neither our own weakness nor the power of Him who has helped us.”

+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 2.67, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. Maximus the Confessor: If we detect any trace of hatred in our hearts . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the Confessor“If we detect any trace of hatred in our hearts against any man whatsoever for committing any fault, we are utterly estranged from love for God, since love for God absolutely precludes us from hating any man.”

+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 1.15, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. Maximos the Confessor: The person who truly wishes to be healed . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the Confessor“The person who truly wishes to be healed is he who does not refuse treatment. This treatment consists of the pain and distress brought on by various misfortunes. He who refuses them does not realize what they accomplish in this world or what he will gain from them when he departs this life.”

+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 3.82, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. Maximos the Confessor: Cleanse your mind . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the Confessor“Cleanse your intellect from anger, rancor and shameful thoughts, and you will be able to perceive the indwelling of Christ.”

+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 4.76, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. Maximos the Confessor: When the demons expel self-restraint . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the Confessor“When the demons expel self-restraint from your intellect and besiege you with thoughts of unchastity, turn to the Lord with tears and say, ‘Now they have driven me out and encircled me’ (Ps. 17:11. LXX); ‘Thou art my supreme joy: deliver me from those who encircle me’ (Ps. 32:7. LXX). Then you will be safe.”

+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 2.18, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. Maximos the Confessor: The sacred Scripture, taken as a whole, is like a human being . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the ConfessorThe sacred Scripture, taken as a whole, is like a human being.  The Old Testament is the body and the New is the soul, the meaning it contains, the spirit. From another viewpoint we can say that the entire sacred Scripture, Old and New Testament, has two aspects: the historical content which corresponds to the body, and the deep meaning, the goal at which the mind should aim, which corresponds to the soul. If we think of human beings, we see they are mortal in their visible properties but immortal in their invisible qualities.

So with Scripture. It contains the letter, the visible text, which is transitory. But it also contains the spirit hidden beneath the letter, and this is never extinguished and this ought to be the object of our contemplation. Think of human  beings again. If they want to be perfect, they master their passions and mortify the flesh. So with Scripture. If it is heard in a spiritual way, it trims the text, like circumcision.

Paul says: `Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day.’ [2 Cor. 4:16] We can say that also of Scripture. The further the letter is divorced from it, the more relevance the spirit acquires. The more the shadows of the literal sense retreat, the more the shining truth of the faith advances. And this is exactly why Scripture was composed.

— St. Maximos the Confessor

St. Maximos the Confessor: . . . when one attempts to give validity to a false faith . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the Confessor“For I reckon it misanthropy and a departure from Divine love to lend support to error, that those previously seized by it might be even more greatly corrupted.”

+ St. Maximus the Confessor, Patrologia Graeca, Vol. 91 col. 465c; as cited in The Panheresy of Ecumenism, by Metropolitan Cyprian of Orpos and Fili (Etna, CA: The Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies, 1995), 32.

Expanded quotation

St. Maximos the Confessor: Do not say that you are the temple of the Lord . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the Confessor“Do not say that you are the temple of the Lord, writes Jeremiah (cf. Jer. 7:4); nor should you say that faith alone in our Lord Jesus Christ can save you, for this is impossible unless you also acquire love for Him through your works.

As for faith by itself, ‘the devils also believe, and tremble’ (Jas. 2:19).”

+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 1.39, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. Maximos the Confessor: Stop defiling your flesh . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the Confessor“Stop defiling your flesh with shameful deeds and polluting your soul with wicked thoughts; then the peace of God will descend upon you and bring you love.”

+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 1.44, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. Maximos the Confessor: Just as the thought of fire does not warm the body . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the Confessor“Just as the thought of fire does not warm the body, so faith without love does not actualize the light of spiritual knowledge in the soul.

Just as the light of the sun attracts a healthy eye, so through love knowledge of God naturally draws to itself the pure intellect.”

+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 1.31-32, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. Maximos the Confessor: He who has genuinely renounced wordly things . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the Confessor“He who has genuinely renounced worldly things, and lovingly and sincerely serves his neighbor, is soon set free from every passion and made a partaker of God’s love and knowledge.”

+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 1.27, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. Maximos the Confessor: In times of peaceful relationships . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the Confessor“In times of peaceful relationships do not recall what was said by a brother when there was bad feeling between you, even if offensive things were said to your face, or to another person about you and you subsequently heard of them. Otherwise you will harbor thoughts of rancor and revert to your destructive hatred of your brother.”

+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 4.34, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. Maximos the Confessor: When a man’s intellect is constantly with God . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the Confessor“When a man’s intellect is constantly with God, his desire grows beyond all measure into an intense longing for God and his incisiveness is completely transformed into divine love. For by continual participation in the divine radiance his intellect becomes totally filled with light; and when it has reintegrated its passable aspect, it redirects this aspect towards God, as we have said, filling it with an incomprehensible and intense longing for Him and with unceasing love, thus drawing it entirely away from worldly things to the divine.”

— St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 2.48, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. Maximos the Confessor: Nothing created by God is evil. . . .

St. Maximos the Confessor 3“Nothing created by God is evil. It is not food that is evil but gluttony, not the begetting of children but unchastity, not material things but avarice, not esteem but self-esteem. It is only the misuse of things that is evil, not the things themselves.”

–St. Maximos the Confessor