Maximus_ConfessorAugust 13th is the feast of St Maximus the Confessor

Love is a holy state of the soul, disposing it to value knowledge of God above all created things.

We cannot attain lasting possession of such love while we are still attached to anything worldly.

Dispassion engenders love, hope in God engenders dispassion, and patience and forbearance engender hope in God.

These in turn are the product of complete self-control, which itself springs from fear of God. Fear of God is the result of faith in God.

If you have faith in the Lord you will fear punishment, and this fear will lead you to control the passions.

Once you control the passions you will accept affliction patiently, and through such acceptance you will acquire hope in God.

Hope in God separates the intellect** from every worldly attachment, and when the intellect is detached in this way it will acquire love for God.

The person who loves God values knowledge of God more than anything created by God, and pursues such knowledge ardently and ceaselessly.

If everything that exists was made by God and for God, and God is superior to the things made by Him, he who abandons what is superior and devotes himself to what is inferior shows that he values things made by God more than God Himself.

When your intellect is concentrated on the love of God you will pay little attention to visible things and will regard even your own body as something alien.

Since the soul is more noble than the body and God incom­parably more noble than the world created by Him, he who values the body more than the soul and the world created by God more than the Creator Himself is simply a worshipper of idols.

If you distract your intellect from its love for God and concentrate it, not on God, but on some sensible object, you thereby show that you value the body more than the soul and the things made by God more than God Himself.

Since the light of spiritual knowledge is the intellect’s life, and since this light is engendered by love for God, it is rightly said that nothing is greater than divine love (cf. 1 Cor. 13:13).

When in the intensity of its love for God the intellect goes out of itself, then it has no sense of itself or of any created thing.

For when it is illumined by the infinite light of God, it becomes insensible to everything made by Him, just as the eye becomes insensible to the stars when the sun rises.

Maximus the Confessor (580-662): Four Hundred Texts on Love 1-10, Text  from G.E.H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, and Kallistos Ware (trans. and eds.) The Philokalia: The Complete Text, vol. 2 (Faber & Faber, London & Boston: 1979), pp.53-54.

**The translators of the Philokalia say the following about the word “intellect” as used in this passage from Maximus and by other Greek authors: INTELLECT (nous): the highest faculty in man, through which – provided it is purified – he knows God or the inner essences or principles of created things by means of direct apprehension or spiritual perception. Unlike the dianoia or reason, from which it must be carefully distinguished, the intellect does not function by formulating abstract concepts and then arguing on this basis to a conclusion reached through deductive reasoning, but it understands divine truth by means of immediate experience, intuition or ‘simple cognition’ (the term used by St Isaac the Syrian). The intellect dwells in the ‘depths of the soul’; it constitutes the innermost aspect of the heart (St Diadochos). The intellect is the organ of contemplation, the ‘eye of the heart’ (Macarian Homilies).

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