Four Hundred Texts on Love (Second Century) 11

Posted: June 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: St. Maximos the Confessor | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

31.  The passions lying hidden in the soul provide the demons with the means of arousing impassioned droughts in us. Then, fighting the intellect through these thoughts, they force it to give its assent to sin. When it has been overcome, they lead it to sin in the mind; and when this has been done they induce it, captive as it is, to commit the sin in action. Having thus desolated the soul by means of these thoughts, the demons then retreat, taking the thoughts with them, and only the specter or idol of sin remains in the intellect. Referring to this our Lord says, ‘When you see the abominable idol of desolation standing in the holy place (let him who reads understand) . . .’ (Matt. 24:15). For man’s intellect is a holy place and a temple of God in which the demons, having desolated the soul by means of impassioned thoughts, set up the idol of sin. That these things have already taken place in history no one, I think who has read Josephus will doubt; though some say that they will also come to pass in the time of the Antichrist.

The first part of this text illustrates the way the demons can use our own passions against us. When we are ruled by our passions, we are enslaved and in bondage, not free. Christ brings freedom, but true freedom requires that we be healed and our passions mastered. And that’s a process that requires time and our active participation.

Then St. Maximos does something that I often find the Fathers doing. He applies and interprets a quote from the Holy Scriptures in a way I had never considered, but which makes perfect sense when I read it. (Or at least which makes sense after I read it five or six times and reflect on it.) And then, in the same train of thought, he makes a historical reference I do understand, but would never have connected to his previous thought.

I find I enjoy the extra work reading texts like these requires on my part. And even when I don’t fully understand (which is more often true than not), I find meditating on the words of the Fathers of the Church leaves me with a deepened and richer faith.


One Comment on “Four Hundred Texts on Love (Second Century) 11”

  1. 1 Scott Morizot said at 10:31 am on June 29th, 2010:

    New at Faith & Food: Four Hundred Texts on Love (Second Century) 11 http://bit.ly/cjAb1x