September 26

The Lord revealed His wisdom by the way in which He healed man, becoming man without the slightest change or mutation. He demonstrated the equity of justice when in His self-abasement He submitted deliberately to the sentence to which what is passible in human nature is subject, and made that sentence a weapon for the destruction of sin and of the death which comes through sin — that is, for the destruction of pleasure and of the pain which pleasure engenders.

It was in this pleasure-pain syndrome that the dominion of sin and death lay; the tyranny of sin committed in pursuit of pleasure and the lordship of the painful death consequent upon sin….

…for in our desire to escape pain we seek refuge in pleasure, and so try to bring relief to our nature, hard pressed as it is by the torment of pain. But through tying in this way to blunt pain with pleasure, we but increase our sum of debts, for we cannot enjoy pleasure that does not lead to pain and suffering.

~St Maximos the Confessor

 

September 25

The Lord is wise, just and mighty by nature. Because He is wise, He could not be ignorant of the way in which to heal human nature. Because He is just, He could not save man, whose will was in the grip of sin, in a tyrannical fashion. Because He is almighty, He could not prove unequal to the task of completing His healing mission.

The wisdom of God is revealed in His becoming by nature a true man. His justice is shown by His assumption, at His nativity, of a passible nature identical to our own. His might is shown by His creation, through His suffering and death, of a life that is by nature eternal and of a state of dispassion that is immutable.

~St Maximos the Confessor

September 24

When God the Logos created human nature He did not make the senses susceptible either to pleasure or to pain; instead, He implanted in it a certain noetic capacity through which men could enjoy Him in an inexpressible way. By this capacity I mean the intellect’s natural longing for God. But on his creation the first man, through an initial movement towards sensible objects, transferred this longing to his senses, and through them began to experience pleasure in a way which is contrary to nature. Whereupon God in His providential care for our salvation implanted pain in us as a kind of chastising force; and so through pain the law of death was wisely rooted in the body, thus setting limits to the intellect’s manic longing, in a manner contrary to nature, towards sensible objects.

~St Maximos the Confessor

September 23

Christ is by nature both God and man. In an ineffable and supranatural manner we participate by grace in Him as God, while He in His incomprehensible love for men shares as man in our lot for our sake by making Himself one with us with a form like ours. The saints foresaw Him mystically in the Spirit and were taught that the glory to be revealed in Christ in the future because of His virtue must be preceded by the sufferings which he would endure for the sake of virtue (1 Peter 1:11).

~St Maximos the Confessor

September 21

Just as it is impossible for the eye to perceive sensible objects without the light of the sun, so the human intellect cannot engage in spiritual contemplation without the light of the Spirit. For physical light naturally illuminates the senses so that they may perceive physical bodies; while spiritual light illumines the intellect so that it can engage in contemplation and thus grasp what lies beyond the senses.

~St Maximos the Confessor

September 20

No benefit comes from a just man’s prayer if he who asks for it finds more pleasure in sin than in virtue. For Samuel mourned over Saul when he sinned, but he was not able to obtain God’s mercy, for his grief was not supported by the necessary change of life on the part of the sinner. Hence God put an end to the pointless grief of His servant, saying to him, ‘How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel?’ (1 Samuel 16:1)

~St Maximos the Confessor