Maximus_ConfessorAugust 13th is the feast of St Maximus the Confessor

God, in whose essence created beings do not participate, but who wills that those capable of so doing shall participate in Him according to some other mode, never issues from the hiddenness of His essence; for even that mode according to which He wills to be participated in remains perpetually concealed from all men.

Thus, just as God of His own will is participated in – the manner of this being known to Him alone – in the surpassing power of His goodness, He freely brings into existence participating beings, according to the principle which He alone understands.

Therefore what has come into being by the will of Him who made it can never be co-eternal with Him who willed it to exist.

The divine Logos [i.e. the Word], who once for all was born in the flesh, always in His compassion desires to be born in spirit in those who desire Him.

He becomes an infant and moulds Himself in them through the virtues. He reveals as much of Himself as He knows the recipient can accept; He does not diminish the manifestation of His own greatness out of lack of generosity but estimates the receptive capacity of  those who desire to see Him.

In this way the divine Logos is eternally made manifest m different modes of  participation, and yet remains eternally invisible to all in virtue of the surpassing nature of His hidden activity.

That is why the apostle, when wisely considering the power of this hidden activity, says, ‘Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and throughout the ages’ (Heb. 13:8); for he sees the hidden activity as something which  is always new and never becomes outmoded through being embraced by the intellect.

Christ our God is born and becomes man by adding to Himself flesh endowed with an intellective soul. He who from non-being brings created things into being is Himself born supranaturally of a Virgin who does not thereby lose her virginity.

For just as He Himself became man without changing His nature or altering His power, so He makes her who bore Him a Mother while keeping her a Virgin. In this way He reveals one miracle through another miracle, at the same time concealing the one with the other.

This is because in Himself, according to His essence. God always remains a mystery. He expresses His natural hiddenness in such a way that He makes it the more hidden through the revelation. Similarly, in the case of the Virgin who bore Him, He made her a Mother in such a way that by conceiving Him the bonds of her virginity became even more indissoluble.

Maximus the Confessor (580-662): Various Texts on Theology, the Divine Economy, and Virtue and Vice, First Century, 7-9, 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.165-166.

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