St. Maximus the confessor著
《400 sayings about love》
by St. Maximus the confessor
SECOND 100 about love
1. The one who truly loves God also prays completely undistracted, and the one who prays completely undistracted also truly loves God. But the one who has his mind fixed on any earthly thing does not pray undistracted; therefore the one who has his mind tied to any earthly thing does not love God.
2. The mind which dallies on a thing of sense certainly has some passion about it, such as desire or sorrow or anger or resentment; and unless he disdains the thing he cannot be freed from that passion.
3. When the passions hold sway over a mind they bind it together with material things, and separating it from God make it to be all‐engrossed in them. But when love of God is in control, it releases it from the bonds and persuades it to think beyond not only things of sense but even this transient life of ours.
4. The purpose of the commandments is to make simple the thoughts of things; the purpose of reading and contemplation is to render the mind clear of any matter or form; from this ensues undistracted prayer.
5. The active way does not suffice by itself for the perfect liberation of the mind from the passions to allow it to pray undistracted unless various spiritual contemplations also relieve it. The former frees the mind only from incontinence and hatred while the latter rid it also of forgetfulness and ignorance, and in this way it will be able to pray as it ought.
6. There are two supreme states of pure prayer, one corresponding to those of the active life, the other to the contemplatives. The first arises in the soul from the fear of God and an upright hope, the second from divine desire and total purification. The marks of the first type are the drawing of one’s mind away from all the world’s considerations, and as God is present to one, as indeed he is, he makes his prayers without distraction or disturbance. The marks of the second type are that at the very onset of prayer the mind is taken hold of by the divine and infinite light and is conscious neither of itself nor of any other being whatever except of him who through love brings about such brightness in it. Then, when it is concerned with the properties of God, it receives impressions of him which are clear and distinct.
7. What anyone loves he surely holds on to, and looks down on everything that hinders his way to it so as not to be deprived of it. And the one who loves God cultivates pure prayer and throws off from himself every passion which hinders him.
8. The one who throws off self-love, the mother of the passions, will very easily with God’s help put aside the others, such as anger, grief, grudges, and so on. But whoever is under the control of the former is wounded, even though unwillingly, by the latter. Self-love is the passion for the body.
9. On account of these five reasons men love one another whether to their praise or blame: for God’s sake, as when the virtuous person loves everyone and the one not yet virtuous loves the virtuous person; or for natural reasons, as parents love their children and vice versa; or out of vainglory, as the one who is honored loves the one who honors him; or for greed, as the one who loves a rich man for what he can get; or for the love of pleasure, as the one who is a servant of his belly or genitals. The first of these is praiseworthy, the second is neutral, and the rest belong to the passions.
10. If you hate some people and some you neither love nor hate, while others you love only moderately and still others you love very much, know from this inequality that you are far from perfect love, which lays down that you must love everyone equally.
11. “Decline from evil and do good.” That is, do battle with your enemy to diminish the passions, then keep sober lest they increase. Or again, do battle to acquire virtues, and then remain watchful in order to guard them. This is also what is meant by “working” and “keeping.”
12. Those who tempt us with God’s permission either arouse the lusts of our soul or stir up our temper or darken our reason, or encompass the body with pain, or plunder our material goods.
13. Either the demons tempt us themselves or they equip those who do not fear the Lord against us: themselves, when we are alone, away from others, just as they tempted the Lord in the desert; through others, when we associate with them, as they tempted the Lord through the Pharisees. It is for us to look to our model and beat them back on both fronts.
14. When the mind begins to make progress in the love of God, the demon of blasphemy begins to tempt him and suggest to him such thoughts as no man but only the devil their father could invent. He does this out of envy for the friend of God, that coming to despair at having such thoughts he no longer dares to approach God in his usual prayer. Nevertheless, the accursed one derives no profit from his plan but rather makes us more steadfast. For engaging in offensive and defensive battle, we become more proven and more sincere in the love of God. “May his sword pierce his heart and may his bows be shattered.”
15. In applying itself to visible things the mind knows them in accordance with nature through the medium of the senses, so that neither is the mind evil, nor is natural knowledge, nor the things, nor the senses, for these are all works of God. What then is evil? Evidently it is the passion of the natural representation, which does not have to exist in our use of representations if the mind is watchful.
16. Passion is a movement of the soul contrary to nature either toward irrational love or senseless hate of something or on account of something material. For example, toward irrational love of food, or a woman, or wealth, or passing glory or any other material thing or on their account. Or else it can be toward a senseless hate of any of the preceding things we spoke of, or on account of any one.
17. Or again, vice is the mistaken use of ideas from which follows the abuse of things. For example, in what concerns woman, the proper use of intercourse is its purpose of procreation. So the one who concentrates on the pleasure is in error as to its use by considering as good what is not good. Therefore such a person misuses a woman in having intercourse. The same holds true for other objects and representations.
18. When the demons have banished chastity from your mind and surrounded you with thoughts of fornication, then say to the Master with tears, “They have banished me and now they have surrounded me; my joy, deliver me from those who surround me.” And you will be safe.
19. The demon of fornication is oppressive, and he violently attacks those who contend against passion. Especially does he do this in their careless living and in their contact with women. For imperceptibly in the softness of pleasure he steals upon the mind and then assails it through the memory when it is in quiet. He inflames the body and presents various forms to the mind to provoke its consent to the sin. If you do not want these things to remain in you, take up fasting and hard work and vigils and blessed solitude with assiduous prayer.
20. Those who are ever seeking our soul do so through passionate thoughts in order to involve it in some sin of thought or deed. When therefore they find that the mind is not receptive, then they will be put to shame and confusion; and when they find it devoted to spiritual contemplation, then they will be quickly turned back and disgraced.
21. The one who anoints his mind for the sacred contests and drives away passionate thoughts from it possesses the character of a deacon. The one who illumines it with knowledge of beings and obliterates counterfeit knowledge possesses that of a priest. Finally, the one who perfects it with the holy perfume of the knowledge of a worshiper of the Holy Trinity possesses that of a bishop.
22. The demons become weak when through the commandments the passions are diminished in us. And they perish when finally they are obliterated through detachment of soul, since they no longer find anything by which they might gain and do battle against it. And this is surely the meaning of “They shall be weakened and perish before your face.”
23. Some men abstain from the passions out of human fear; others out of vainglory; others again out of self-control; still others are freed from the passions by the divine judgments.
24. All the Lord’s words are embraced in these four: commandments, instruction, threats, promises. Because of them we endure every hardship such as fastings, vigils, sleeping on the ground, hard work and stress in the service of others, outrages, disgrace, tortures, death, andthe like. As the Scripture says, “For the sake of the words of your lips I have kept hard ways.”
25. The reward of self-mastery is detachment and that of faith is knowledge. And detachment gives rise to discernment while knowledge gives rise to love for God.
26. The mind that has succeeded in the active life advances in prudence; the one in the contemplative life, in knowledge. For to the former it pertains to bring the one who struggles to a discernment of virtue and vice, while to the latter, to lead the sharer to the principles of incorporeal and corporeal things. Then at length it is deemed worthy of the grace of theology when on the wings of love it has passed beyond all the preceding realities, and being in God it will consider the essence of himself through the Spirit, insofar as it is possible to the human mind.
27. When you intend to know God do not seek the reasons about his being, for the human mind and that of any other being after God cannot discover this. Rather, consider as you can the things about him, for example his eternity, immensity, infinity, his goodness, wisdom, and power which creates, governs, and judges creatures. For that person among others is a great theologian if he searches out the principles of these things, however much or little.
28. He is a powerful man who couples knowledge with action; for by the latter he extinguishes lust and subdues anger, and by the former he gives wings to the mind and flies off to God.
29.When the Lord says, “The Father and I are one,” he is signifying identity of substance. And when he says again, “I am in the Father and the Father is in me,” he indicates the inseparability of the Persons. Therefore the Tritheists in separating the Son from the Father rush in with cliffs all around. For either they say that the Son is coeternal with the Father but separate one from the other and so are compelled to say that he was not begotten of him, and fall off the cliff saying that there are three Gods and three origins, or else they say that he was begotten of him, but insisting on separating are compelled to say that he is not coeternal with the Father and make subject to time the very master of time. For it is necessary both to preserve the one God and to confess the three persons, each one in his individuality, according to the great Gregory. For as he tells us, God is “divided” yet “without division,” and “united” yet “with distinction.” In this way both the division and the union are extraordinary. But what is so extraordinary in a man being both united with and separated from a man, as the Son to the Father, and nothing more?
30. The one who is perfect in love and has reached the summit of detachment knows no distinction between one’s own and another’s, between faithful and unfaithful, between slave and freeman, or indeed between male and female. But having risen above the tyranny of the passions and looking to the one nature of men he regards all equally and is equally disposed toward all. For in him there is neither Greek nor Jew, neither male nor female, neither slave nor freeman, but Christ is everything and in everything.
31. From the passions embedded in the soul the demons take their starting base to stir up passionate thoughts in us. Then, by making war on the mind through them they force it to go along and consent to sin. When it is overcome they lead it on to a sin of thought, and when this is accomplished they finally bring it as a prisoner to the deed. After this, at length, the demons who have devastated the soul through thoughts withdraw with them. In the mind there remains only the idol of sin about which the Lord says, “When you see the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place, let him who reads understand.” Man’s mind is a holy place and a temple of God in which the demons have laid waste the soul through passionate thoughts and set up the idol of sin. That these things have already happened in history no one who has read Josephus can, I think, doubt, though some say that these things will also happen when the Antichrist comes.
32. There are three things that move us to the good: natural tendencies, the holy angels, and a good will. First the natural tendencies, as when what we wish men do to us and we likewise do to them; or as when we see someone in distress and need and we naturally take pity. Second, the holy angels, when for instance we are moved to some good deed and obtain their helpful assistance and are successful. Finally a good will, because when we discern good from evil, we choose the good.
33. Likewise there are three things that move us to evil: passion, the demons, and a bad will. First passion, as when we desire an object beyond reason, such as food outside the time or need, a woman outside the purpose of procreation or one not lawfully ours; or again when we are angered or grieved, for instance against the one who offends or hurts us. Second, the demons, as when they wait for the moment of our carelessness and suddenly set upon us with much violence to rouse the passions of which we spoke, and similar things. Finally, a bad will, such as when while knowing the good we prefer evil.
34. The reward for the labors of virtue is detachment and knowledge. For these become our patrons in the kingdom of heaven just as the passions and ignorance are the patrons of eternal punishment. Thus the one who seeks these out of human glory and not for their own good should hear the Scripture, “You ask but do not receive because you ask wrongly.”
35. There are many things done by men which are noble in themselves but still because of some reason are not noble. For example, fasts and vigils, prayer and psalmody, almsgiving and hospitality are noble in themselves, but when they are done out of vainglory they are no longer noble.
36. God searches the intention of everything that we do, whether we do it for him or for any other motive.
37. When you hear the Scripture saying, “You will render to each one according to his works,” know that God will reward good works but not those done apart from a right intention even if they appear good, but precisely those done with a right intention. For God’s judgment looks not on what is done but to the intention behind it.
38. The demon of pride has a twofold wickedness; either he induces the monk to ascribe his virtuous deeds to himself and not to God the bestower of good things and the helper in good behavior, or, unable to persuade him in this, he suggests that he look down on the brothers who are still less advanced than himself. The one who behaves in this way does not realize that he is being induced into denying God’s assistance. For if he looks down on them as those who are unable to perform good deeds he is evidently putting himself forward as someone who acts uprightly on his own power; but this is impossible, as the Lord told us, “Outside of me you can do nothing.” This is because our weakness, when moved to do good things, is unable to bring anything to completion without the bestower of good things.
39. The one who has come to understand the weakness of human nature has had experience of the divine power, and such a person who because of it has succeeded in some things and is eager to succeed in others never looks down on anyone. For he knows that in the same way God has helped him and freed him from many passions and hardships, so can he help everyone when he wishes, especially those who are striving for his sake. Although for his own reasons he does not deliver all from their passions right away, still as a good and loving physician he heals in his own good time each one of those who are striving.
40. Pride comes along in the quieting of the passions either in the removal of the causes or in the crafty withdrawal of the demons.
41. Nearly every sin is committed for pleasure, and its removal comes about through distress and sorrow whether voluntary or involuntary, through repentance or any predetermined happening brought on by Providence. For, “if we should judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But while we are judged we are chastened by the Lord, lest we be condemned with this world.”
42. When a temptation comes upon you unexpectedly, do not inquire of the one through whom it comes but seek the reason for it and you will find correction. Whether it comes from one source or the other, you still have to drink fully the gall of God’s judgments.
43. So long as you have evil habits, do not refuse to undergo hardships, so that you may be humbled by them and vomit out pride.
44. Some temptations bring men pleasure, others distress, and still others bodily pain. For according to the cause of the passions rooted in the soul does the Physician of souls apply the medicine of his judgments.
45. The onslaughts of temptations are brought on sometimes to take away sins already committed, or those being committed in the present, or else to cut off those which could be committed. And this is apart from those which come upon one as a trial, as with Job.
46. The sensible man who thinks over the medicine of the divine judgments thankfully bears the misfortunes that befall him because of them, realizing that they have no other cause than his own sins.
47. There are certain things which check the passions in their movement and do not allow them to advance and increase, and there are others which diminish them and make them decrease. For example, fasting, hard labor, and vigils do not allow concupiscence to grow, while solitude, contemplation, prayer, and desire for God decrease it and make it disappear. And similarly is this the case with anger: for example, long-suffering, the forgetting of offenses, and meekness check it and do not allow it to grow, while love, almsgiving, kindness, and benevolence make it diminish.
48. For the mind of the one who is continually with God even his concupiscence abounds beyond measure into a divine desire and whose entire element is transformed into divine love. For by an enduring participation in the divine illumination it has become altogether shining bright, and having bound its possible element to itself it, as I said, turned it around to a never-ending divine desire and an unceasing love, completely changing over from earthly things to divine.
49. The one who does not envy or is not angry, or who does not bear grudges against the one who has offended him, does not yet have love for him. For it can be that even one who does not yet love does not return evil for evil because of the commandment but in no way does he render good for evil spontaneously. Indeed, deliberately to do good to those who hate you is a mark of perfect spiritual love alone.
50. The one who does not love someone does not necessarily hate him, nor again does the one who does not hate necessarily love; rather, he can be in a neutral position to him that is, neither loving nor hating. For only the five ways mentioned in the ninth chapter of this century can produce a loving disposition. These are the praiseworthy way, the neutral way, and the blameworthy ones.