Four Hundred Texts on Love (Fourth Century) 16

Posted: February 10th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: St. Maximos the Confessor | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Four Hundred Texts on Love (Fourth Century) 16

43.  The Lord gave clear evidence of His supreme power in what He endured from hostile forces when He endowed human nature with an incorruptible form of generation. For through His passion He conferred dispassion, through suffering repose, and through death eternal life. By His privations in the flesh He re-established and renewed the human state, and by His own incarnation He bestowed on human nature the supranatural grace of deification.

It is no longer the nature of man to die.

I think we sometimes lose sight of that truth as Christians today. We are no longer slaves to death. Moreover, we can now become like God. We can become one with God. Before the Incarnation, that was forever beyond our reach. God was wholly other from us. While we could not know or commune with God, the Word could and did become one of us. That’s why the best short description of salvation is union with Christ. As we are one with Christ, so we become one with God and with each other.


Four Hundred Texts on Love (Fourth Century) 10

Posted: January 20th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: St. Maximos the Confessor | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Four Hundred Texts on Love (Fourth Century) 10

32. It was indeed indispensable that He who is by nature the Creator of the being of all things should Himself, through grace, accomplish their deification, and in this way reveal Himself to be not only the author of being but also the giver of eternal well-being. Every creature is totally ignorant both of its own essential being and of that of every other created thing; in consequence no created thing has by nature foreknowledge of anything that will come into existence. Only God has such foreknowledge, and He transcends created things. For He knows what He is in His essence and He knows of the existence of everything made by Him before it comes into being; and it is His purpose to endow created things through grace with a knowledge both of their own essential being and of that of other things; for He will reveal to them the inner principles of their creation, pre-existent in a unified manner within Himself.

We don’t know God. We don’t truly know each other. And often, we do not even know ourselves. We can’t follow Polonius’ maxim, “To thine own self be true,” because we do not know our deepest self or how to be true to it. Before we can be deified, before we can be one with God, we have to be healed. We no longer know what it means to be a human being and we cannot know ourselves or be one with others until we have our true humanity restored. Jesus, in part, became man to restore to us our humanity. That’s one of the reasons it’s so important that Jesus was fully human in every way except sin. He became the faithful man we could not be.


Four Hundred Texts on Love (Fourth Century) 8

Posted: January 13th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: St. Maximos the Confessor | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Four Hundred Texts on Love (Fourth Century) 8

29. The intelligence recognizes two kinds of knowledge of divine realities. The first is relative, because it is confined to the intelligence and its intellections, and does not entail any real perception, through actual experience, of what is known. In our present life we are governed by this kind of knowledge. The second is true and authentic knowledge. Through experience alone and through grace it brings about, by means of participation and without the help of the intelligence and its intellections, a total and active perception of what is known. It is through this second kind of knowledge that, when we come into our inheritance, we receive supernatural and ever-activated deification. The relative knowledge that resides in the intelligence and its intellections is said to stimulate our longing for the real knowledge attained by participation. This real knowledge, which through experience and participation brings about a perception of what is known, supersedes the knowledge that resides in the intelligence and the intellections.

This text can be a little tricky to untangle, but if I understand it properly it divides knowledge into two realms. One is intellectual and confined to the workings of our own mind. This knowledge is relative because it has no basis in the perception of actual experience. Authentic knowledge is gained by the actual experience of God through the energies of his grace and participation with him. The relative knowledge of our own intellect can spur our desire for true and authentic knowledge, but that’s the limit of its reach. I think I can be guilty of confusing the former knowledge with the latter and it makes me wonder just how widespread that confusion might be.


Four Hundred Texts on Love (Fourth Century) 4

Posted: December 30th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: St. Maximos the Confessor | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Four Hundred Texts on Love (Fourth Century) 4

19.  The soul’s salvation is the consummation of faith (cf. 1 Pet. 1:9). This consummation is the revelation of what has been believed. Revelation is the inexpressible interpenetration of the believer with the object of belief and takes place according to each believer’s degree of faith (cf. Rom. 12:6). Through that interpenetration the believer finally returns to his origin. This return is the fulfillment of desire. Fulfillment of desire is ever-active repose in the object of desire. Such repose is eternal uninterrupted enjoyment of this object. Enjoyment of this kind entails participation in supra-natural divine realities. This participation consists in the participant becoming like that in which he participates. Such likeness involves, so far as this is possible, an identity with respect to energy between the participant and that in which he participates by virtue of the likeness. This identity with respect to energy constitutes the deification of the saints. Deification, briefly, is the encompassing and fulfillment of all times and ages, and of all that exists in either. This encompassing and fulfillment is the union, in the person granted salvation, of his real authentic origin with his real authentic consummation. This union presupposes a transcending of all that by nature is essentially limited by an origin and a consummation. Such transcendence is effected by the almighty and more than powerful energy of God, acting in a direct and infinite manner in the person found worthy of this transcendence. The action of this divine energy bestows a more than ineffable pleasure and joy on him in whom the unutterable and unfathomable union with the divine is accomplished. This, in the nature of things, cannot be perceived, conceived or expressed.

I don’t have any comments on this text and I’m not even entirely sure I understand it. Actually, I’m fairly certain I don’t understand it. But I’ve been trying to wrap my little head around theosis or deification for years now, so I thought I would go ahead and publish this text. Maybe somebody reading might want to take a stab at it in the comments.