Who Am I?

Four Hundred Texts on Love (Second Century) 5

Posted: June 8th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: St. Maximos the Confessor | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Four Hundred Texts on Love (Second Century) 5

9.  Men love one another, commendably or reprehensibly, for the following five reasons; either for the sake of God, as the virtuous man loves everyone and as the man not yet virtuous loves the virtuous; or by nature, as parents love their children and children their parents; or because of self-esteem, as he who is praised loves the man who praises him; or because of avarice, as with one who loves a rich man for what he can get out of him; or because of self-indulgence, as with the man who serves his belly and his genitals. The first of these is commendable, the second is of an intermediate kind, the rest are dominated by passion.

I wanted to include this text, not because I feel I have anything to say that adds or expands on it in any way, but because I think it’s something important to reflect upon. I know I’m not what St. Maximos calls a virtuous man because I know I don’t love everyone. I do have a growing love for those we recognize as saints who, at least in some measure, did achieve those goals. And I love those I directly encounter who love better than I love.

St. Maximos points out that what we often call love is actually dominated by passion. And I think the reason of self-esteem is the one of this sort we most often find among Christian gatherings. I could easily be wrong, of course. I don’t claim any special or unusual insight. But it seems to be more insidious and, given how well I understand my own capacity for self-deception, it seems like the sort of passion-dominate love more likely to take root in that environment.

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