St. Maximus the confessor著,前五十首
400 sayings about love (First 50)
1. Love is a good disposition of the soul by which one prefers no being to the knowledge 5 of God. It is impossible to reach the habit of this love if one has any attachment to earthly things.
2. Love is begotten of detachment, 6 detachment of hope in God, hope of patient endurance and long-suffering, these of general self-mastery, self-mastery of fear of God, and fear of faith in the Lord.
3. The one who believes the Lord fears punishment; the one who fears punishment becomes master of his passions; the one who becomes master of his passions patiently endures tribulations; the one who patiently endures tribulations will have hope in God; hope in God separates from every earthly attachment; and when the mind is separated from this it will have love for God. 7
4. The one who loves God prefers knowledge of him to all things made by him and is constantly devoted to it by desire.
5. If all things have been made by God and for his sake, then God is better than what has been made by him. The one who forsakes the better and is engrossed in inferior things shows that he prefers the things made by God to God himself.
6. The one who has his mind fixed on the love of God disdains all visible things and even his own body as alien. 8
7. If the soul is better than the body and
God incomparably better than the world which he created, the one who prefers the body to the soul and the world to the God who created it is no different from idolaters.
8. The one who separates his mind from love and devotedness toward God and keeps it tied to any sensible thing is the one who prefers the body to the soul and things that are made to God their Creator.
9. If the life of the mind is the illumination of knowledge and this is born of love for God, then it is well said that there is nothing greater than love. 9
10. When in the full ardor of its love 10 for God the mind goes out of itself, then it has no perception at all either of itself or of any creatures. For once illumined by the divine and infinite light, it remains insensible to anything that is made by him, just as the physical eye has no sensation of the stars when the sun has risen.
11. All the virtues assist the mind in the pursuit of divine love, but above all does pure prayer. By it the mind is given wings to go ahead to God and becomes alien to all things.
12. When through love the mind is ravished by divine knowledge and in going outside of creatures has a perception of divine transcendence, 11 then, according to the divine Isaiah, it comes in consternation to a realization of its own lowliness and says with conviction the words of the prophet:
Woe is me for I am stricken at heart; because being a man having unclean lips, I dwell in the midst of a people with unclean lips and I have seen with my eyes the King, the Lord of hosts. 12
13. The one who loves God cannot help but love also every man as himself even though he is displeased by the passions of those who are not yet purified. Thus when he sees their conversion and amendment, he rejoices with an unbounded and unspeakable joy.
14. The passionate soul is impure, filled with thoughts of lust and hatred.
15. The one who sees a trace of hatred in his own heart through any fault at all toward any man whoever he may be makes himself completely foreign to the love for God, because love for God in no way admits of hatred for man.
16. “The one who loves me,” says the Lord, “will keep my commandments” and “this is my commandment, that you love one another.” 13 Therefore the one who does not love his neighbor is not keeping the commandment, and the one who does not keep the commandment is not able to love the Lord.
17. Blessed is the man who has learnt to love all men equally. 14
18. Blessed is the man who is not attached to any corruptible or transitory thing.
19. Blessed is the mind which has gone beyond all beings and takes unceasing delight in the divine beauty.
20、如果一個人總是為了肉身欲望的滿足做打算15，而且，常常為了短暫的利益而埋怨、嫉妒身邊的人 ——– 這樣的人是在為受造物效勞，而不是為造物主效勞。16
20. The one who makes provision for the desires of the flesh 15 and bears a grudge against his neighbor for transitory things—such a man serves the creature rather than the Creator. 16
21. The one who keeps his body away from pleasure and sickness keeps it as a fellow worker in the service of better things.
22. The one who flees all the world’s desires puts himself beyond every worldly grief.
23. The one who loves God surely loves his neighbor as well. Such a person cannot hold on to money but rather gives it out in God’s fashion to each one who has need. 17
24. The one (who imitates God by giving alms) knows no difference between evil and good or just and unjust in regard to the needs of the body, but distributes to all without distinction according to their need even if he prefers the virtuous person over the wicked because of his good intention. 18
25. Just as God who is by nature good and free of passion loves all in an equal way as his creatures but glorifies the virtuous man for having become his friend through his intention and has mercy on the wicked out of his goodness and converts him by chastening him in this life, so also does the one who is good and without passion through his intention love equally all men—the virtuous because of his nature and good will and likewise the wicked because of his nature and compassion by which he pities one who is foolish and makes his way in darkness.
26. The disposition of love is made manifest not only in the sharing of money but much more in sharing the word of God and physical service.
27. The one who has genuinely renounced worldly matters and serves his neighbor without pretense through love soon frees himself of all passion and is rendered a sharer of divine love and knowledge.
28. The one who has acquired divine love in himself does not grow weary of closely following after the Lord his God, as the divine Jeremiah 19 says; rather he endures nobly every reproachful hardship and outrage without thinking any evil of anyone.
29. When you are insulted by someone or offended in any matter, then beware of angry thoughts, lest by distress they sever you from charity and place you in the region of hatred.
30. Whenever you are suffering intensely from insult or disgrace, realize that this can be of great benefit to you, for disgrace is God’s way of driving vainglory out of you.
31. As the memory of fire does not warm the body, so faith without love does not bring about the illumination of knowledge in the soul.
32. As the light of the sun attracts the healthy eye, so does the knowledge of God draw the pure mind to itself naturally through love.
33. The mind is pure when it is removed from ignorance and illuminated by divine light.
34. The soul is pure when it has been freed from the passions 20 and rejoices unceasingly in divine love.
35. A blameworthy passion is a movement of the soul contrary to nature. 21
36. Detachment is a peaceful state of the soul in which it becomes resistant to vice.
37. The one who has zealously acquired the fruits of love does not change from it even though he experiences countless ills. And let Stephen, Christ’s disciple, and those like him, persuade you, as well as Christ himself who prays for his murderers and asks forgiveness of his Father as for those acting in ignorance. 22
38. If it is a mark of love to be patient and kind, 23 the one who acts contentiously愛爭吵的 or wickedly clearly makes himself a stranger to love, and the one who is a stranger to love is a stranger to God, since “God is love.” 24
39. Do not say, as the divine Jeremiah tells us, that you are the Lord’s temple. 25 And do not say that “mere faith in our Lord Jesus Christ can save me.” For this is impossible unless you acquire love for him through works. For in what concerns mere believing, “even the devils believe and tremble.” 26
40. The work of love is the deliberate doing of good to one’s neighbor as well as long-suffering and patience and the use of all things in the proper way.
41. The one who loves God is not sad nor does he grieve anyone because of any passing thing. Only one salutary sadness makes him sad and grieves others, the one which the blessed Paul had and with which he grieved the Corinthians. 27
42. The one who loves God leads an angelic life on earth, fasting and being watchful and singing psalms and praying and always thinking good of everyone. 28
43. If anyone desires anything, he naturally strives to obtain it. Now the divine is incomparably better and more desirable than all good and desirable things. What great zeal, then, should we show to obtain what is good and desirable by nature! 29
44. Do not stain your flesh with indecent actions; do not defile your soul with evil thoughts; and God’s peace will come upon you and bring love.
45. Afflict your flesh with fasting and vigils. Devote yourself diligently to psalmody and prayer, and holiness in chastity will come upon you and bring love.
46. The one who is deemed worthy of divine knowledge and who through love has attained its illumination will never be blown about by the spirit of vainglory. But the one who is not yet deemed worthy of divine knowledge is easily carried to and fro by it. If such a one, then, should look to God in everything that he does, as doing everything for his sake, he will easily escape it with God.
47. The one who has not yet obtained divine knowledge activated by love makes a lot of the religious works he performs. But the one who has been deemed worthy to obtain this says with conviction the words which the patriarch Abraham spoke when he was graced with the divine appearance, “I am but earth and ashes.” 30
48. The one who fears the Lord always has humility as his companion and through its promptings is led to divine love and thanksgiving. For he recalls his former worldly life and different transgressions and the temptations bedeviling him from his youth, and how the Lord delivered him from all these things and made him pass from this life of passion to a divine life. And so with fear he receives love as well, ever thankful with deep humility to the benefactor and pilot of our life.
49. Do not soil your mind by holding on to thoughts of concupiscence and anger, lest by falling from pure prayer you fall in with the spirit of discouragement. 31
50. The mind falls from familiarity 32 with God whenever it consorts with wicked and foul thoughts.