Continued from here….
This self-love is, and is known to be, the first sin, the first progeny of the devil and the mother of the passions that come after it.
He to whom it is granted to be worthy of God through love does away with it, and together with it the whole host of wickedness, which has no other foundation or cause of existence than self-love.
For such a one no longer knows pride, the mark of that vain opinion that opposes God, the monstrous, composite evil.
He does not know the glory that causes one to fall, and casts down from itself those who are puffed up with it.
He causes envy to waste away, which itself first rightly lays waste those who possess it, through voluntary goodwill making his own those who share the same nature. Anger, bloodthirstiness, wrath, guile, hypocrisy, dissembling, resentment, greed, and everything by which the one human person is divided up: all these he roots up.
For by plucking out self-love, which is, as they say, the beginning and mother of all evils, everything that comes from it and after it is plucked out as well. Once this is no more, absolutely no form or trace of evil can any longer subsist.
All the forms of virtue are introduced, fulfilling the power of love, which gathers together what has been separated, once again fashioning the human being in accordance with a single meaning and mode.
It levels off and makes equal any inequality or difference in inclination in anything, or rather binds it to that praiseworthy inequality, by which each is so drawn to his neighbour in preference to himself and so honours him before himself, that he is eager to spurn any obstacle in his desire to excel.
And for this reason each one willingly frees himself from himself, by separating himself from any thoughts or properties to which he is privately inclined, and is gathered to the one singleness and sameness, in accordance with which nothing is in anyway separated from what is common to all, so that each is in each, and all in all, or rather in God and in others, and they are radiantly established as one, having the one logos of being in themselves, utterly single in nature and inclination.
And in this God is understood: in him they are all beheld together and they are bound together and raised to him, as the source and maker. The logos of being of all beings by nature preserves itself pure and inviolate for our attention, who, with conscious zeal through the virtues and the toils that accompany them, have been purified from the passions that rebel against it.
Maximus the Confessor (580-662): Letter 2: On Love in Andrew Louth: Maximus the Confessor (Routledge, 1996), pp. 85.