Byzantine Christian Monk, Theologian and Scholar
Saint Maximus the Confessor
Byzantine Christian Monk, Theologian and Scholar
Deification, briefly, is the encompassing and fulfilment of all times and ages, and of all that exists in either. This encompassing and fulfilment 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.
They said to him, "And what will you do if the Romans unite with the Byzantines? For behold, yesterday there came legates of Rome and tomorrow on Sunday they will take communion with the patriarch; it will become evident to all that it was you who turned the Romans away. Doubtless with you removed, there will then be an easy union." And he said to them, "Those who are coming cannot in any way prejudice the see of Rome, even if they should take communion because they have not brought a letter to the patriarch. And I am not at all convinced that the Romans will unite with them unless they confess that our Lord and God by nature both wills and works our salvation according to each of the natures from which he is, in which he is, as well as which he is." And they said, "And if the Romans should come to terms with them at this time, what will you do?" He replied, "The Holy Spirit, according to the Apostle, condemns even angels who sanction anything against what has been preached"
Everyone who does not apply himself to the spiritual contemplation of Holy Scripture has, Judaic-wise, also rejected both the natural and the written law; and he is ignorant of the law of grace which confers deification on those who are obedient to it. He who understands the written law in a literal manner does not nourish his soul with the virtues. He who does not grasp the inner principles of created beings fails to feast his intellect on the manifold wisdom of God. And he who is ignorant of the great mystery of the new grace does not rejoice in the hope of future deification. Thus failure to contemplate the written law spiritually results in a dearth (lack, an inadequate supply) of the divine wisdom to be apprehended in the natural law; and this in its turn is followed by a complete ignorance of the deification given by grace according to the new mystery
To the extent that you pray from your soul for the one who spread scandal about you, God will reveal the truth to those who were told the scandal.
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 gather 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 inclination in anything, or rather binds it to that praiseworthy inequality, by which each is so drawn to his neighbor in preference to himself and so honors 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.
To the extent that you pray with all your soul for the person who slanders you, God will make the truth known to those who have been scandalized by the slander.
God made us so that we might become 'partakers of the divine nature' (2 Pet. 1:4) and sharers in His eternity, and so that we might come to be like Him (cf. 1 John 3:2) through deification by grace. It is through deification that all things are reconstituted and achieve their permanence; and it is for its sake that what is not is brought into being and given existence.
What is the meaning of the passage about the woman who is struck and ‘has an abortion,’ and ‘if the child comes out perfectly formed’ the law declares that the one who struck [her] must give ‘life for life.’ But if the child falls out unformed, [why] is it only an accident? Literally, we understand the passage in this way: since the murder is of the body — for a soul, being immortal, is never murdered – for this reason ‘being not perfectly formed’ into the human form does not entail to danger but only mild damage. But if the human image is fully developed, it is reasonable to see such a person as committing the murder of a perfect human being
God, Who is by nature good and dispassionate, loves all men equally as His handiwork. But He glorifies the virtuous man because in his will he is united to God. At the same time, in His goodness he is merciful to the sinner and by chastising him in this life brings him back to the path of virtue. Similarly, a man of good and dispassionate judgment also loves all men equally. He loves the virtuous man because of his nature and the probity of his intention; and he loves the sinner, too, because of his nature and because in his compassion he pities him for foolishly stumbling in darkness.
When the demons see us disdaining the things of the world in order through them not to hate men and fall away from love, they then incite slanders against us, hoping that, unable to bear the hurt, we will come to hate those who slander us.
He who busies himself with the sins of others, or judges his brother on suspicion, has not yet even begun to repent or examine himself so as to discover his own sins.
If that were so, the Orthodox faith would have long since come to an end, recall the councils summoned by imperial decree to proclaim that the Son of God is not of the same essence as God the Father. The first was held in Tyre, the second in Antioch, the third in Seleucia, the fourth in Constantinople under Eudoxius the Arian, the fifth in Nicaea, and the sixth in Sirmium. Considerably later, a seventh false council took place in Ephesus, at which Dioscorus presided. All these synods were convened by imperial decree, but were rejected and anathematized, since they endorsed godless doctrines. On what grounds, I would like to know, do you accept the council which condemned and anathematized Paul of Samosata? Gregory the Wonder-worker presided over that council, and its resolutions were confirmed by Dionysius, Pope of Rome, and Dionysius of Alexandria. No Emperor convoked it, but it is unassailable and irrefutable. The Orthodox Church recognizes as true and holy precisely those synods that proclaimed true dogmas. Your holiness knows that the canons require that local councils be held twice yearly in every Christian land for the defense of our saving faith and for administrative purposes; however, they say nothing about imperial decrees.
It is said that God allows the demons to attack us for five reasons. The first is that, through being attacked and fighting back, we should learn to distinguish virtue from sin. The second is that having acquired virtue by struggle and labor we should keep it firm and unalterable. The third, that progressing in virtue we should not think highly of ourselves but learn humility. The fourth, that having experienced in practice the wickedness of sin we should hate it with perfect hatred. Finally, the fifth and most important is that having been freed from the passions we should not forget our weakness and the strength of Him that helped us.
It is said that the highest state of prayer is reached when the intellect goes beyond the flesh and the world, and while praying is utterly free from matter and form. He who maintains this state has truly attained unceasing prayer.”
Blessed is the man who can love all men equally. Blessed is the man who is attached to nothing subject to corruption and time. Blessed is the mind which, passing by all creatures, constantly rejoices in God’s beauty.