Maximus_ConfessorNothing is more truly Godlike than divine love, nothing more mysterious, nothing more apt to raise up human beings to deification.

For it has gathered together in itself all good things that are recounted by the logos of truth in the form of virtue, and it has absolutely no relation to anything that has the form of wickedness, since it is the fulfilment of the law and the prophets.

For they were succeeded by the mystery of love, which out of human beings makes us gods, and reduces the individual commandments to a universal meaning [logos].

Everything is circumscribed by love according to God’s good pleasure in a single form, and love is dispensed in many forms in accordance with God’s economy.

For what form of good things does love not possess?

Neither faith, the first premiss in matters concerning true religion, assuring the one who possesses it of the existence of God and of divine matters, and that much more surely than the eye by attending to the appearances of sensible things furnishes an opinion concerning them for those who see;

nor hope, which establishes the truly subsisting good, and that much more effectively than the hand does to even the most solid of material things that fall beneath its touch.

For does not love grant enjoyment of those things believed in and hoped for, by itself making present the things to come?

[…] Faith is the foundation of everything that comes after it, I mean hope and love, and firmly establishes what is true. Hope is the strength of the extremes, I mean faith and love, for it appears as faithful by itself and loved by both, and teaches through itself to make it to the end of the course.

Love is the fulfilment of these, wholly embraced as the final last desire, and furnishes them rest from their movement. For love gives faith the reality of what it believes and hope the presence of what it hopes for, and the enjoyment of what is present.

Love alone, properly speaking, proves that the human person is in the image of the Creator, by making his self-determination submit to reason, not bending reason under it, and persuading the inclination to follow nature and not in any way to be at variance with the logos of nature.

In this way we are all, as it were, one nature, so that we are able to have one inclination and one will with God and with one another, not having any discord with God or one another, whenever by the law of grace, through which by our inclination the law of nature is renewed, we choose what is ultimate.

Maximus the Confessor (580-662): Letter 2: On Love in Andrew Louth: Maximus the Confessor (Routledge, 1996), pp. 82-84.

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