Four Hundred Texts on Love (Second Century) 2

Posted: June 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: St. Maximos the Confessor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

3.  When passions dominate the intellect, they separate it from God, binding it to material things and preoccupying it with them. But when love of God dominates the intellect, it frees it from its bonds, persuading it to rise above not only sensible things but even this transitory life.

I have lived a life that has often been shaped more by the passions that have ruled me than by my own intention and will. Passion, it must be remembered, does not mean sin. It means suffering. (Or at least that is one of its meanings.) When I am ruled by a passion, I can still be many things, but I am not free.

God seeks always to heal and free us. If you encounter a group whose God does not do both, do not listen to them when they try to tell you that their God is the Christian God. In the past, I heard such claims and believed them. And as a result, I rejected Christianity entirely for a long time. I thought I knew the Christian God and wanted nothing to do with him.

God loves us. He is the one good God who loves mankind. He is the wise God who is always working to heal and free us. But freedom is a tricky thing. You cannot be forced to be free. I’m reminded of the dwarves in C.S. Lewis’ The Last Battle. I’ve known since I first read the book as a child that I did not want to be those dwarves. But I didn’t realize for many years how difficult a task it is to be anything but a dwarf trapped in a stable that no longer exists.


Four Hundred Texts on Love 25

Posted: May 21st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: St. Maximos the Confessor | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Four Hundred Texts on Love 25

96. We do not know God from His essence. We know Him rather from the grandeur of His creation and from His providential care for all creatures. For through these, as though they were mirrors, we may attain insight into His infinite goodness, wisdom and power.

I think this is the idea behind St. Maximos’ thoughts in other texts on the contemplation of created things. God is everywhere present and filling all things. As I think about this, I am reminded of something C.S. Lewis said.

Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.

Christian contemplation is rooted in the material creation. It is not something divorced or separated from the sensible realm. That is one of its somewhat unique characteristics. But, of course, the eternal Son of God became flesh, so how can it be any other way?