October 16

A person is humble when he knows that his very being is on loan to him.

…both God and the devil naturally impart their qualities to those who approach either of them: God bestows eternal life on those who love Him, while the devil, operating through temptations that are subject to our volition, causes the death of his followers.

~St Maximos the Confessor

October 11

Spiritual knowledge unites knower and known, while ignorance is always a cause of change and self-division in the ignorant. Hence nothing, according to sacred Scripture, will shift him who truly believes from the ground of his true faith, in which resides the permanence of his immutable and unchanging identity. For he who has been united with the truth has the assurance that all is well with him, even though most people rebuke him for being out of his mind. For without their being aware he has moved from delusion to the truth of real faith; and he knows for sure that he is not deranged, as they say, but that through truth–simple and always immutably the same–he has been liberated from the fluctuating and fickle turmoil of the manifold forms of illusion.

~St Maximos the Confessor

October 8

Nature itself gives no small token of the knowledge of providence planted naturally within us whenever it urges us instinctively towards God through prayer in times of sudden crises, and makes us seek salvation from Him. For when we are suddenly overtaken by violent events, before thinking of anything else we involuntarily call upon God. Is is as if providence itself, without any conscious thought on our part, were drawing us to itself, outstripping the speed of our noetic faculty and showing us that divine help is stronger than anything else. Nature would not lead us purposelessly to what does not naturally exist. It is clear to everyone that whatever is a natural consequence of something demonstrates its own authenticity with the force of truth.

~St Maximos the Confessor

October 7

I do not think that the end of this present life is rightly called death. More accurately, it is deliverance from death, separation from corruption, liberation from slavery, cessation of turbulence, destruction of wars, dispelling of darkness, rest from suffering, calming of turmoil, eclipsing of shame, escape from passions and, to sum up, the termination of all evils. The saints who have achieved these things through voluntary mortification live as strangers and pilgrims in this life (Hebrews 11:13), fighting bravely against the world and the body and the assaults stemming from them. And, having stifled the deceit which both of these engender because of the close connection existing between the senses and sensible objects, they keep the dignity of this soul unenslaved.

Using the mellow thought of pleasure as if it were a sword, the passion of gluttony makes many virtues childless. By means of dissipation it kills the seeds of self-restraint; through greed it corrupts the equity of justice; with self-love it severs the natural bond of compassion. In short, the passion of gluttony destroys all virtue’s offspring.

~St Maximos the Confessor

October 6

God did not order the sabbath, the new moons and the feasts to be honored because He wanted men to honor the days themselves: this would have been tantamount to decreeing by the Law that men should worship creation rather than the Creator (Romans 1:25), and should regard the days as holy in themselves and therefore to be venerated. On the contrary, He indicated that He Himself was to be honored symbolically through the days. For He is the sabbath, as the soul’s repose after its exertions in the flesh, and as the cessation of its sufferings in the cause of righteousness. He is the Passover, as the liberator of those held in the bitter slavery of sin. He is the Pentecost, as the origin and consummation of all created beings, and as the principle through which all things by nature exist. Thus the Law destroys those who apprehend it in a literal or outward way, leading them to worship creation rather than the Creator, and to regard as holy in themselves things that were brought into existence for man’s sake; for they remain ignorant of Him on whose account they were created.

~St Maximos the Confessor

October 5

Everyone who has fallen away from divine love is ruled through sensual pleasure by the carnal law. With such a law, he cannot keep a single divine commandment, nor does he wish to: preferring a life of pleasure to a life ruled by virtue and lived in the Spirit of God, he embraces ignorance instead of knowledge.

To treat one’s neighbor as oneself is to be concerned simply with his existence. This pertains to the natural law. To love one’s neighbor as oneself is to care, in a way that accords with virtue, for his well-being. This is prescribed by the written law (Leviticus 19:18 & Mark 12:33). To love one’s neighbor more than oneself is a prerogative of the law of grace.

~St Maximos the Confessor

October 3

The patient endurance of the saints exhausts the evil power that attacks them, since it makes them glory in sufferings undergone for the sake of truth. It teaches those too much concerned with a life in the flesh to deepen themselves through such sufferings instead of pursuing ease and comfort; and it makes the flesh’s natural weakness in the endurance of suffering a foundation for overwhelming spiritual power. For the natural weakness of the saints is precisely such a foundation, since the Lord has made their weakness stronger than the proud devil.


The written law, by preventing wrongdoing through fear, accustoms one to do what is right. In time such custom produces a disposition filled with the love of righteousness, and this in turn produces a settled state of goodness, obliterating the memory of past sins.

~St Maximos the Confessor

October 2

Just as soul and body combine to produce a human being, so practice of the virtues and contemplation together constitute a unique spiritual wisdom, and the Old and New Testaments together form a single mystery. Goodness by nature belongs to God alone, from whom all things capable by nature of receiving light and goodness are enlightened and blessed with goodness by participation.

~St Maximos the Confessor

September 28

A man is also a thief when he conceals his soul’s unseen evil behind a seemingly virtuous way of life, and disguises his inner disposition with an affected innocence. Just as one kind of thief filches his audience’s mind by uttering words of wisdom, so this kind pilfers the senses of those who see him by his pretense of virtue. To him it will be said: ‘Be ashamed of yourselves, all you who are dressed in clothes that do not belong to you’ (Zephaniah 1:8), and : ‘In that day the Lord will reveal their pretense’ (Isaiah 3:17).

I seem to hear God saying these things to me daily in the hidden workshop of my heart, and feel that I am explicitly condemned on both counts.

~St Maximos the Confessor


September 27

If a person refuses to allow God, the abode of all who are saved and source of their well-being, to sustain his life and to assure his well-being, what will become of him? And if the righteous man will be saved only with much difficulty (Proverbs 11:31 & 1 Peter 4:18), what will become of the man who has not attained any principle of devotion and virtue in this present life?

By a single infinitely powerful act of will God in His goodness will gather all together, angels and men, the good and the evil. But, although God pervades all things absolutely, not all will participate in Him equally: they will participate in Him according to what they are.

~St Maximos the Confessor