June 30

He who loves Christ is bound to imitate Him to the best of his ability. Christ, for example, was always conferring blessings on people; He was long-suffering when they were ungrateful and blasphemed Him; and when they beat Him and put Him to death, He endured it, imputing no evil at all to anyone. These are the three acts which manifest love for one’s neighbor. If he is incapable of them, the person who says that he loves Christ or has attained the kingdom deceives himself. For ‘not everyone who says to Me; “Lord, Lord” shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of My Father’ (Matthew 7:21); and again, ‘He who loves Me will keep My commandments’ (John 14: 15,23)….

The whole purpose of the Savior’s commandments is to free the intellect from dissipation and hatred, and to lead it to the love of Him and one’s neighbor. From this love springs the light of active holy knowledge….

He who always concentrates on the inner life becomes restrained, long-suffering, kind and humble. He will also be able to contemplate, theologize and pray. That is what St Paul meant when he said: ‘Walk in the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:16).

                                                                                                         ~St Maximos the Confessor

June 29

A soul’s motivation is rightly ordered when its desiring power is subordinated to self-control, when its incensive power rejects hatred and cleaves to love, and when its power of intelligence, through prayer and spiritual contemplation, advances towards God….

It is no small struggle to be freed from self-esteem. Such freedom is to be attained by the inner practice of the virtues and by more frequent prayer; and the sign that you have attained it is that you no longer harbor rancor against anybody who abuses or has abused you….

If you want to be a just person, assign to each aspect of yourself–to your soul and your body–what accords with it. To the intelligent aspect of the soul assign spiritual reading, contemplation and prayer; to the incensive aspect, spiritual love, the opposite of hatred; to the desiring aspect, moderation and self-control; to the fleshly part, food and clothing, for these alone are necessary (1 Timothy 6:8).

                                                                     ~St Maximos the Confessor

June 28

If you harbor rancor against anybody, pray for them and you will prevent the passion from being aroused; for by means of prayer you will separate your resentment from the thought of the wrong they have done you. When you have become loving and compassionate towards them, you will wipe the passion completely from your soul. If somebody regards you with rancor, be pleasant to them, be humble and agreeable in their company, and you will deliver them from their passion….

You will find it hard to check the resentment of an envious person, for what he envies in you he considers his own misfortune. You cannot check his envy except by hiding from him the thing that arouses his passion. If this thing benefits many but fills him with resentment, which side will you take? You have to help the majority but without, as far as possible, disregarding him, and without being seduced by the cunning of the passion itself, for you are defending not the passion but the sufferer. You must in humility consider him superior to yourself, and always, everywhere and in every matter put his interest above yours. As for your own envy, you will be able to check it if you rejoice with the man whom you envy whenever he rejoices, and grieve whenever he grieves, thus fulfilling St Paul’s words, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).

                                                                ~St Maximos the Confessor

June 27

Self-love, as has often been said, is the cause of all impassioned thoughts. For from it are produced the three principal thoughts of desire; those of gluttony, avarice and self-esteem. From gluttony is born the thought of unchastity; from avarice, the thought of greed; from self-esteem, the thought of pride. All the rest–the thoughts of anger, resentment, rancor, listlessness, envy, backbiting and so on–are consequent upon one or other of these three. These passions then, tie the intellect to material things and drag it down to earth, pressing on it like a massive stone, although by nature it is lighter and swifter than fire….

The origin of all the passions is self-love; their consummation is pride. Self-love is a mindless love for the body. He who cuts this off cuts off at the same time all the passions that come from it….

He who desires earthly things desires either food, or things which satisfy his sexual appetite, or human fame, or wealth, or some other thing consequent upon these. Unless the intellect finds something more noble to which it may transfer its desire, it will not be persuaded to scorn these things completely. The knowledge of God and of divine things is incomparably more noble than these earthly things.

                                                                   ~St Maximos the Confessor

June 26

Just as parents have a special affection for the children who are the fruit of their own bodies, so the intellect naturally clings to its own thoughts. And just as to passionately fond parents their own children seem the most capable and most beautiful of all–though they may be quite the most ridiculous in every way–so to a foolish intellect its own thoughts appear the most intelligent of all, though they may be utterly degraded.

The wise man does not regard his own thoughts in this way. It is precisely when he feels convinced that they are true and good that he most distrusts his own judgment. He makes other wise men the judges of his thoughts and arguments–lest he should run, or may have run, in vain (Galatians 2:2)–and from them receives assurance.

                                                ~St Maximos the Confessor

June 25

…in everything we do God examines our motive, to see whether we are doing it for His sake or for some other purpose. Thus when we desire to do something good, we should not do it for the sake of popularity; we should have God as our goal, so that, with our gaze always fixed on Him, we may do everything for His sake. Otherwise we shall undergo all the trouble of performing the act and yet lose the reward….

Through genuine love for God we can drive out the passions. Love for God is this: to choose Him rather than the world, and the soul rather than the flesh, by despising the things of this world and by devoting ourselves constantly to Him through self-control, love, prayer, psalmody and so on….

                                                           ~St Maximos the Confessor

June 24

He who is not attracted by worldly things cherishes stillness. He who loves nothing merely human loves all men. And he who takes no offense at anyone either on account of their faults, or on account of his own suspicious thoughts, has knowledge of God and of things divine….

God, full beyond all fullness, brought creatures into being not because He had need of anything, but so that they might participate in Him in proportion to their capacity and that He Himself might rejoice in His works (Psalm 104:31), through seeing them joyful and ever filled to overflowing with His inexhaustible gifts.

                                                                          ~St Maximos the Confessor