To harbor no envy, no anger, no resentment against an offender is still not to have charity for him. It is possible, without any charity, to avoid rendering evil for evil. But to render, spontaneously, good for evil - such belongs to a perfect spiritual love.— Maximus the Confessor
The most memorable Maximus the Confessor quotes to discover and learn by heart
Food is not evil, but gluttony is. Childbearing is not evil, but fornication is. Money is not evil, but avarice is. Glory is not evil, but vainglory is. Indeed, there is no evil in existing things, but only in their misuse.
Christianity is an entirely new way of being human.
Theology without practice is the theology of demons
The person who loves God cannot help loving every man as himself, even though he is grieved by the passions of those who are not yet purified. But when they amend their lives, his delight is indescribable and knows no bounds.
Those who seek the Lord should not look for Him outside themselves;
on the contrary, they must seek Him within themselves through faith made manifest in action. For He is near you: 'The word is... in your mouth and in your heart, that is, the word of faith' (Rom. 10:8) - Christ being Himself the word that is sought.
Cleanse your mind from anger, remembrance of evil, and shameful thoughts, and then you will find out how Christ dwells in you.
A pure heart is perhaps one which has no natural propulsion towards anything in any manner whatsoever. When in its extreme simplicity such a heart has become like a writing-tablet beautifully smoothed and polished, God comes to dwell in it and writes there His own laws.
If God suffers in the flesh when He is made man, should we not rejoice when we suffer, for we have God to share our sufferings? This shared suffering confers the kingdom on us. For he spoke truly who said, 'If we suffer with Him, then we shall also be glorified with Him' (Rom. 8:17).
Do not say that faith in Christ alone can save you, for this is not possible if you do not attain love for Him, which is demonstrated by deeds. As for mere faith: "The demons also believe and tremble" (James, 2:19). The action of love consists in heartfelt good deeds toward one's neighbor, magnanimity, patience, and sober use of things.
In all of our deeds God looks at the intention, whether we do it for His sake, or for the sake of some other intention.
Peace is truly the complete and undisturbed possession of what is desired.
You will be able to check envy if you rejoice with the man whom you envy whenever he rejoices, and grieve whenever he grieves.
There is a single energy of God and the saints? they are living icons of Christ, being the same as He is, by grace rather than by assimilation.
If you expound the teaching of the Logos from the standpoint of the moral life, using materialistic words and examples which correspond to the capacity of your hearers, you make the Logos flesh. Conversely, if you elucidate mystical theology by means of the higher forms of contemplation you make the Logos spirit.
He who has realized love for God in his heart is tireless in his pursuit of the Lord his God, and bears every hardship, reproach and insult nobly, never thinking the least evil of anyone.
Created man cannot become a son of God and god by grace through deification, unless he is first through his own free choice begotten in the Spirit by means of the self-loving and independent power dwelling naturally in him.
Dispassion and humility lead to spiritual knowledge. Without them no one will see the Lord.
Just as the thought of fire does not warm the body, so faith without love does not actualize the light of spiritual knowledge in the soul.
Every genuine confession humbles the soul.
When it takes the form of thanksgiving, it teaches the soul that it has been delivered by the grace of God.
'The long-suffering man abounds in understanding' (Prov.
14:29), because he endures everything to the end and, while awaiting that end, patiently bears his distress. The end, as St. Paul says, is everlasting life (cf. Rom. 6:22). 'And this is eternal life, that they might know You the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent' (Jn. 17:3).
Do not disdain the commandment to love, for through it you become a son of God, and when you break it, you become a son of Gehenna.
We must not only put bodily passions to death but also destroy the soul's impassioned thoughts. Hence the Psalmist says, 'Early in the morning I destroyed all the wicked of the earth, that I might cut off all evil-doers from the city of the Lord' (Ps. 101:8) - that is, the passions of the body and the soul's godless thoughts.
Unclean spirits increase the passions in us, making use of our negligence, and inciting them. But the angels decrease our passions, inciting us to the perfection of virtue.
Just as the light of the sun attracts a healthy eye, so through love knowledge of God naturally draws to itself a pure intellect.
Inasmuch as you pray with all your soul for the one who has slandered you, so much will God reveal the truth to them who have believed the slander.
He who has not yet attained divine knowledge energized by love is proud of his spiritual progress. But he who has been granted such knowledge repeats with deep conviction the words uttered by the patriarch Abraham when he was granted the manifestation of God: 'I am dust and ashes' (Gen. 18:27).
A Christian receives divine wisdom in three ways: by the commandments, teachings, and faith. The commandments free the mind from passions. Teachings lead it to true knowledge of nature. Faith leads to the contemplation of the Holy Trinity.
...the aim of every hierarchy is always to imitate God so as to take on His form... the task of every hierarchy is to receive and to pass on undiluted purification, the divine light, and the understanding which brings perfection.
There are lots of those who speak but few who do.
However, no one should distort the word of God by his own negligence, but it is better to confess your own weakness, not hiding the truth of God, so that together with the breaking of the commandments you do not also appear guilty of an untrustworthy explanation of the word of God.
A soul that is nurtured by hatred toward man can not be at peace with God, Who has said: If you forgive not men their sins, neither shall your Father forgive your sins (Matt. 6:15). If a man does not want to be reconciled, you must at least guard yourself from hating, praying with a pure heart for him, and speaking no evil of him.
He has as yet no perfect love, whose disposition towards men depends on what they are like, loving one and despising another for this or that, or sometimes loving, sometimes hating one and the same man. Blessed is the man who can love all men equally.
The Logos came down out of love for us.
Let us not keep Him down permanently, but let us go up with Him to the Father, leaving the earth and earthly things behind, lest He say to us what He said to the Jews because of their stubbornness: 'I go where you cannot come (Jn. 8:21).
If you make provision for the desires of the flesh and bear a grudge against your neighbor on account of something transitory, you worship the creature instead of the Creator.
He who busies himself with the sins of others, or judges his brother on suspicion, has not yet even begun to repent or to examine himself so as to discover his own sins.
...the Lord said as He drew near His passion, 'Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself; and He will glorify Him at once' (Jn. 13:31-32). From This it is clear that divine gifts follow sufferings endured for the sake of virtue.
When what has been created in time according to the temporal order has reached maturity, it ceases from natural growth. But when what has been brought about by the knowledge of God through the practice of the virtues has reached maturity, it starts to grow anew. For the end of one stage constitutes the starting point of the next.
The mind of a man that loves God does not fight against things or thoughts about them, but against the passions that are connected with these thoughts. That is, he does not struggle against a woman, or against one who has insulted him, and not against the images of them, but against the passions that are aroused by these images.
But I say to you, the Lord says, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, pray for those who persecute you. Why did he command these things? So that he might free you from hatred, sadness, anger and grudges, and might grant you the greatest possession of all, perfect love, which is impossible to possess except by the one who loves all equally in imitation of God.
If an unexpected temptation comes, don't blame the one through whom it came, but seek out the reason. Thus you will find correction for your soul.
In conformity with the philosophy of Christ, let us make of our life a training for death.
It is one thing to be delivered from bad thoughts, and another to be freed from the passions. Often people are delivered from thoughts, when they do not have before their eyes those things which produce passion. But the passions for them remain hidden in the soul, and when the things appear again the passions are revealed. Therefore it is necessary to guard the mind when these things appear, and to know toward which things you have a passion.
A man who has been assiduous in acquiring the fruits of love will not cease loving even if he suffers a thousand calamities. Let Stephen, the disciple of Christ, and others like him persuade you of the truth of this (cf. Acts 7:60). Our Lord Himself prayed for His murderers and asked the Father to forgive them because they did not know what they were doing (cf. Luke 23:34).
The person who truly wishes to be healed is he who does not refuse treatment.
This treatment consists of the pain and distress brought on by various misfortunes. He who refuses them does not realize what they accomplish in this world or what he will gain from them when he departs this life.
Only wonder can comprehend His incomprehensible power.
A man of discernment, meditating on the healing Divine Providence, bears with thanksgiving the misfortunes that come to him. He sees their causes in his own sins, and not in anyone else. But a mindless man, when he sins and receives the punishment for it, considers the cause of his misfortune to be God, or people, not understanding God's care for him.
If everything that exists was made by God and for God, and God is superior to the things made by Him, he who abandons what is superior and devotes Himself to what is inferior shows that he values things made by God more than God Himself.
Humility and ascetic hardship free a man from all sin, for the one cuts out the passions of the soul, the other those of the body. This is what the blessed David indicates when he prays to God, saying, "Look on my humility and my toil, and forgive all my sins" (Ps. 25:18).
Love is manifested not only through the distribution of one's possessions, but even moreso through the spreading of the word of God and helpful deeds.
Many have said much about love, but you will find love itself only if you seek it among the disciples of Christ. For only they have true Love as love's teacher. 'Though I have the gift of prophecy', says St. Paul, 'and know all mysteries and all knowledge? and have no love, it profits me nothing' (I Cor. 13:2-3). He who possesses love possesses God Himself, for 'God is love' (I Jn. 4:8). To Him be glory throughout the ages. Amen.