August 1

The man who has struggled bravely with the passions of the body, has fought ably against unclean spirits, and has expelled from his soul the conceptual images they provoke, should pray for a pure heart to be given him and for a spirit of integrity to be renewed within him (Psalm 51:10). In other words, he should pray that by grace he may be completely emptied of evil thoughts and filled with divine thoughts, so that he may become a spiritual world of God, splendid and vast, wrought from moral, natural and theological forms of contemplation.

                                                      ~St Maximos the Confessor

July 31

The divine Logos of God the Father is mystically present in each of His commandments. God the Father is by nature present entirely and without division in His entire divine Logos (Christ). Thus, he who receives a divine commandment and carries it out receives the Logos of God who is in it; and he who receives the Logos through the commandments also receives through Him the Father who is by nature present in Him, and the Spirit who likewise is by nature in Him. ‘I tell you truly, he that receives whomever I send receives Me; and he that receives Me receives Him that sent Me’ (John 13:20). In this way, he who receives a commandment and carries it out receives mystically the Holy Trinity….

So long as we only see the Logos of God as embodied multifariously (variously) in symbols in the letter of Holy Scripture, we have not yet achieved spiritual insight into the incorporeal, simple, single and unique Father as He exists in the incorporeal, simple, single and unique Son, according to the saying, ‘He who has seen Me has seen the Father…and I am in the Father and the Father in Me’ (John 14:9-10). We need much knowledge so that, having first penetrated the veils of the sayings which cover the Logos, we may with a naked intellect see–in so far as men can-the pure Logos, as He exists in Himself, clearly showing us the Father in Himself. Hence a person who seeks God with true devotion should not be dominated by the literal text, lest he unwittingly receives not God but things appertaining to God; that is, lest he feel a dangerous affection for the words of Scripture instead of for the Logos (Christ). For the Logos eludes the intellect which supposes that it has grasped the incorporeal Logos by means of His outer garments, like the Egyptian woman who seized hold of Joseph’s garments instead of Joseph himself (Genesis 39:7-13), or like the ancients who were content merely with the beauty of visible things and mistakenly worshiped the creation instead of the Creator (Romans 1:25).

                                                          ~St Maximos the Confessor

July 30

In Scripture the Logos of God is called and actually is dew (Deuteronomy 32:2), water, spring (John 4:14) and river (John 7:38), according to the subjective capacity of the recipient. To some He is dew because He quenches the burning energy of the passions which assails the body from without. To those seared in the depths of their being by the poison of evil He is water, not only because water through antipathy destroys its opposite but also because it bestows a vivifying power conducive to well-being. To those in whom the fountain of contemplative experience is continually active He is a spring bestowing wisdom. To those from whom flows the true teaching about salvation, He is a river copiously watering men, domestic animals, wild beasts and plants. That is to say, those who have remained human are uplifted by the conceptual images they have been given and are do deified; those made like domestic animals by the passions are restored to the human state by being shown the exact character of the virtuous way of life and so they recover their natural intelligence; those made like wild beasts by evil habits and actions are tamed by kind and tender counsel and return to their natural gentleness; those hardened like plants against divine blessings are made pliable by the Logos passing deeply through them, and they regain the sensitivity that enables them to bear fruit and to sustain the Logos within them.

                                                                        ~St Maximos the Confessor

July 29

Some are reborn through water and the spirit (John 3:5); others receive baptism in the Holy Spirit and in fire (Matthew 3:11). I take these four things–water, spirit, fire and Holy Spirit–to mean one and the same Spirit of God. To some the Holy Spirit is water because He cleanses the external stains of their bodies. To others He is simply spirit because He makes them active in the practice of virtue. To others He is fire because He cleanses the interior defilement which lies deep within their souls. To others, according to Daniel, He is Holy Spirit because He bestows on them wisdom and spiritual knowledge (Daniel 1:17 & 5:11-12). For the single identical Spirit takes His different names from the different ways in which He acts on each person.

                                                                                                ~St Maximos the Confessor

July 28

The initial stages of learning about religious devotion are naturally  related to the flesh. For in our first encounter with religion we come into contact with the letter and not the spirit. But as we get nearer to the spirit and refine the materiality of words with the more subtle forms of contemplation, we come to dwell — so far as this is possible for man — purely in the pure Christ, so that we can say with St Paul, ‘Though we have known Christ according to the flesh, now we no longer know Him in this manner’ (2 Corinthians 5:16). That is to say, we no longer know Him according to the flesh because, through the intellect’s naked encounter with the Logos stripped of the veils covering Him, we have advanced from knowing Him according to the flesh to knowing His ‘glory as of the only begotten Son of the Father’ (John 1:14).

                  ~St Maximos the Confessor

July 27

When the intellect scorns the teaching which purifies it from the passions, and ceases to examine what should be done and what should not be done, it will through ignorance inevitably be overcome by the passions. As the intellect gradually comes to be separated from God, it is more and more involved in difficulties not of its own choosing. Obeying the demons, it makes a god of the belly and tries to find relief there from what oppresses it. Let Saul convince you of the truth of this: because he did not take Samuel for an advisor in all things he inevitably turned to idolatry, putting his trust in a ventriloquist and consulting her as if she were a god (1 Samuel 28: 7-20).

He who asks to receive his daily bread (Matthew 6:11) does not automatically receive it in its fullness as it is in itself: he receives it according to his own capacity as recipient. The Bread of Life (John 6:35) gives Himself in His love to all who ask, but not in the same way to all; for He gives Himself more fully to those who have performed great acts of righteousness, and in smaller measure to those who have not achieved so much. He gives Himself to each person according to that person’s spiritual ability to receive Him.

                                                       ~St Maximos the Confessor