St. Maximus the confessor著
《400 sayings about love》
by St. Maximus the confessor
SECOND 100 about love
151 – 200
51. When you see your mind dallying with pleasure over material things and taking fond delight in thinking of them, know that you love these things rather than God. “For where your treasure is,” says the Lord, “there will your heart be also.”
52. The mind which attains God and abides with him through prayer and love becomes wise, good, powerful, benevolent, merciful, and forbearing ; in short, it carries around almost all the divine qualities in itself. But when it withdraws from him and goes over to material things it becomes pleasure-loving like cattle or fights with men like a wild beast over these things.
53. Scripture calls material things the world, and worldly people are those who let their mind dwell on them. Against these is the very sharp reproof: “Do not love the world nor the things in the world; the concupiscence of the flesh and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life are not from God but from the world.”
54. A monk is one who separates his mind from material things and who devotes himself to God by self-mastery, love, psalmody, and prayer.
55. The active man is allegorically a cattle herder, for moral actions are signified by cattle, as when Jacob said, “Your servants are herders of cattle.” But the gnostic is the shepherd, for the thoughts which are tended by the mind on the mountains of contemplation are signified by sheep, as again, “All shepherds are an abomination to the Egyptians,” ; that is, to the powerful enemies.
56. Once the body is moved by the senses to its own lusts and pleasures, the careless mind follows along and assents to its imaginings and impulses. The virtuous mind, in contrast, is in firm control and holds itself back from the passionate imaginings and impulses and instead concentrates on improving its emotions of this type.
57. There are virtues of the body and virtues of the soul. Bodily virtues are, for example, fasting, vigils, sleeping on the ground, service to others, manual labor done so as not to burden anyone or to have something to share, and so forth. The virtues of the soul are love, forbearance, meekness, self-mastery, prayer, and so forth. Now if from some necessity or bodily condition such as ill health or the like it happens that we are unable to accomplish the preceding bodily virtues, we are excused by the Lord, who understands the reasons. But if we do not accomplish the virtues of the soul we shall have no defense, for they are not subject to any necessity.
58. The love of God induces the one who possesses it to despise every passing pleasure and every trouble and sorrow. All the saints, who have suffered so much with joy for Christ, should convince you of this.
59. Keep yourself away from self-love, the mother of vices, which is the irrational love of the body. For from it surely arise the first three passionate and capital thoughts, gluttony, greed, and vainglory, which have their starting point in the seemingly necessary demands of the body and from which the whole catalogue of vices comes about. Therefore, as was said, one must necessarily keep away from and do battle with this self-love with full determination, for when this is overcome then are all its offspring likewise brought into line.
60. The passion of self-love suggests to the monk that he should be kind to the body and to indulge in food more than is appropriate. Thus under the pretense of proper guidance it means to drag him little by little to fall into the pit of voluptuousness. To the worldly person it proposes that he make provision for himself right away in the matter of lust.
61. It is said that the supreme state of prayer is when the mind passes outside the flesh and the world and while praying is completely without matter and form. The one who preserves this state without compromise really “prays without ceasing.”
62. Just as the body which is dying is separated from all the realities of the world, so is the mind which dies on the heights of prayer separated from the thoughts of the world. For if it does not die such a death it cannot be and live where God is.
63. Let no one deceive you, monk, into thinking that you can be saved while in the service of pleasure and vainglory.
64. Just as the body which sins through things and has as discipline the bodily virtues to bring it back to its senses, so in its turn does the mind which sins through passionate thoughts likewise have as discipline the virtues of the soul, in order that looking at things in a pure and detached way it might return to its senses.
65. Just as night follows day and winter follows summer, so do sorrow and pain follow vainglory and pleasure whether in the present or in the future.
66. In no way can the sinner escape the judgment to come unless he takes on here below voluntary hardships or involuntary afflictions.
67. It is said that there are five reasons why we are allowed to be warred upon by the demons. First, so that in offensive and defensive battle we come to distinguish virtue and vice. Second, that in acquiring virtue by struggles and toil we shall hold on to it firmly and steadfastly. Third, that while advancing in virtue we do not become haughty but learn rather to be humble. Fourth, that having experienced vice we will hate it with a consummate hate. Fifth, and most important, that when we become detached we do not forget either our own weakness or the power of the one who has helped us.
68. Just as the mind of the one who is hungry imagines bread and that of the one who is thirsty imagines water, so does the glutton imagine a great variety of food and the voluptuous man imagine feminine visions, and the vain person imagine human applause, and the greedy person imagine profits, the vengeful person imagine revenge against the one who offended him, the envious person imagine evil to the one of whom he is envious, and similarly with the other passions. For the mind which is troubled by the passions receives passionate thoughts both when the body is awake and asleep.
69. When lust grows strong, the mind dreams of the objects which give it pleasure; when anger grows strong, it looks on the things which arouse fear. Now it is the impure demons who strengthen the passions and arouse them, making use of the help of our carelessness. On the other hand the holy angels weaken them by moving us to the exercise of the virtues.
70. When the concupiscible element of the soul is frequently aroused it lays up in the soul a fixed habit of pleasure. And when the temper is repeatedly stirred up it makes the mind craven and cowardly. The first is healed by a continual exercise of fasting, vigils, and prayer; the second by kindness, benevolence, love, and mercy.
71. The demons mount their attacks either with things or with the passionate thoughts connected with them: with things, those who are concerned with them, with thoughts those who have withdrawn from things.
72. As much as it is easier to sin in thought than in deed, so is a war with thoughts more exacting than one with things.
73. Things exist outside the mind while thoughts about them are put together inside. Therefore on it depends either their proper or improper use, for the abuse of things follows on the mistaken use of thoughts.
74. The mind receives passionate thoughts from these three sources: sense experience, temperament, and memory. From the senses when things which are the source of passions impress them and move the mind to passionate thinking; from temperament, when because of intemperate living or the working of demons or some sickness, the bodily development is altered and it moves the mind again to passionate thinking or against Providence; finally from memory, when it recalls the thoughts of things that have aroused our passion and moves the mind once more to passionate thinking.
75. Of the things given to us by God for our use some are in the soul, others in the body, and others are concerned with the body. Those in the soul, for example, are its powers, in the body are the organs of sense and the other members; and those which are concerned with the body are food, wealth, possessions, and so forth. Therefore, the good or evil use of these things or of those corresponding to them indicates whether we are virtuous or wicked.
76. Of the accidents in things, some are in the soul, others in the body, and still others concerned with the body. Of those in the soul there are, for example, knowledge and ignorance, forgetfulness and memory, love and hate, fear and courage, sorrow and joy, and so forth. Of those in the body there are, for example, pleasure and hardship, feeling and disability, health and illness, life and death, and similar things. Of those things concerned with the body there are, for example, parenthood and childlessness, wealth and poverty, fame and ill repute, and so forth. Some of these we consider good and others evil, although none of them is evil in itself but is found to be properly good or evil according to its use.
77. Knowledge is good by nature, and so likewise is health, but their opposites have benefited even more than have they. In the wicked knowledge does not result in good, even though, as was said, it is good by nature. The same is true for health or wealth or joy: These are not used profitably by them. So it is, then, that their opposites are profitable, and therefore it happens that they are not evil in themselves even though they seem to be evil.
78. Do not misuse thoughts, lest you necessarily misuse things as well. For unless anyone sins first in thought, he will never sin in deed.
79. The image of the earthly man consists in the capital vices, such as folly, cowardice, intemperance, injustice. The image of the heavenly man consists in the cardinal virtues, as prudence, courage, temperance, justice. So, “as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so let us bear the image of the heavenly.”
80. If you wish to find the way that leads to life, look for it and you will find it in the Way who tells us, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” Only seek it very intensely because “few there are who find it”; otherwise you may be left behind by the few and found among the many.
81. For these five reasons will the soul abstain from sin: the fear of men, the fear of judgment, the future reward, the love of God, or finally the prompting of conscience.
82. Some say that there would be no evil in beings unless there were some other power which pulled us on to it, and this is nothing other than carelessness of the natural functioning of the mind. Therefore those who are careful about this always do good deeds, never bad. So, if you too are willing, banish carelessness and you drive evil away as well, which is the mistaken use of thoughts on which follows the misuse of things.
83. It is according to nature that the rational element in us be subjected to the divine Word and that it govern our irrational element. Therefore, this order is to be preserved in all things and there will be neither any evil in beings nor anything available to draw them on to it.
84. Some thoughts are simple, others compound. The simple are without passion, but the compound are with passion, as composed of passion plus representation. In this case, one can see that many simple thoughts follow on the compound when they have begun to be moved to sin by the mind. Take money, for example. A passionate thought arises in someone’s memory about gold. In his mind he has the urge to steal and with his heart he accomplishes the sin. Now with the memory of the gold will come also the memory of the purse, the chest, the room, and so forth. Now the memory of the gold is compound, for it displayed passion; but that of the purse, chest, and so forth, is simple, for the mind had no passion toward them. And so it is with every thought, with vainglory, with women, and so on. For not all thoughts which accompany an impassioned thought are themselves passionate, as the example has shown. Thus from this we can know what are impassioned representations and what are simple.
85. Some say that the demons get hold of the private parts of the body in sleep and arouse them to the passion of fornication which in turn recalls the female form to the mind through the memory. Others say that they appear to the mind in female guise and then by touching the private parts of the body arouse desire and give rise to imagination. Still others say that the prevailing passion in the approaching demon arouses the passion and in this way the soul is inflamed for evil thoughts by recalling forms through the memory. And similarly for all the other passionate thoughts; some say it comes about in one way, some in another. But in none of these ways are the demons strong enough to arouse any passion whatsoever whether one is awake or asleep when love and self-mastery are present in the soul.
86. It is necessary to observe some commandments of the Law both in letter and in spirit, others only in spirit. For example, the commandments “thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal,” and the like have to be observed both literally and spiritually, and the latter in three ways. The commandments to be circumcised, to keep the Sabbath, to immolate the lamb and eat unleavened bread with bitter herbs, and so forth, are to be observed only spiritually.
87. There are three general moral states among monks. The first is not to sin in deed, the second is not to dally over passionate thoughts in the soul, and the third is to look with a detached mind on the forms of women or of those who have offended us.
88. The poor man is the one who has renounced all his possessions and owns nothing at all on earth except his body, and having severed his attachment to it has entrusted himself to the care of God and of religious men.
89. Some owners have possessions without attachment, and thus do not grieve when they are deprived of them, as those who accepted with joy the seizure of their goods. But others possess with attachment and become filled with grief when about to be deprived, like the one in the Gospel who went away sad; and if they are deprived, they grieve until death. So it is that deprivation attests the condition of whether one is detached or attached.
90. The demons make war on those who are at the summit of prayer to prevent them from receiving simple representations of material things. They war on contemplatives to cause passionate thoughts to linger in their minds, and on those who are struggling in the active life to persuade them to sin by action. In every way these accursed beings struggle against everyone in order to separate men from God.
91. Those whose piety undergoes trial in this life by divine Providence are proved by these three temptations: by the gift of pleasant things, such as health, beauty, fine children, wealth, reputation, and the like. Or by the inflicting of sorrowful things, such as the loss of children, wealth, and reputation; or by painful afflictions of the body, such as sickness, disease, and so forth. To the first the Lord says, “If anyone does not renounce all he possesses, he cannot be my disciple.” To the second and third he says, “In your patience you shall possess your souls.”
92. These four things are said to modify the bodily temperament and thereby to give thoughts to the mind whether passionate or without passion: angels, demons, the weather, and life-style. The angels are said to modify it by reason, the demons by touch, the weather by its variations, the life-style by the quality and quantity of food and drink, whether too much or too little. In addition to these there are the modifications which come to it from the memory, from hearing and sight since it is the soul which is first affected by things which give it grief or joy. And when the soul approves of these, it modifies the temperament of the body; and when this is thus modified, it supplies thoughts to the mind.
93. Death is, properly speaking, separation from God, and “the sting of death is sin.” In taking it on, Adam was banished at once from the tree of life, from Paradise, and from God, whereupon there followed of necessity the death of the body. On the other hand life is, properly speaking, the one who says, “I am the life.” By his death he brought back to life again the one who had died.
94. The written word is taken down either for one’s own memory or for the profit of others, or both, or to harm certain people, or for ostentation, or out of necessity.
95. The active life is “a place of pasture”; knowledge of created things is “water of refreshment.”
96. Human life is a “shadow of death.” Thus if anyone is with God and God is with him he clearly can say, “For though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil because you are with me.”
97. A pure mind sees things rightly, a straightforward speech brings what it sees into view, and a keen hearing hearkens to it. But, the one who is deprived of these three things abuses the speaker.
98. The one who knows the Trinity and its creation and Providence and who keeps the emotional part of his soul unattached is with God.
99. The rod is said to signify God’s judgment and his staff his Providence. Thus the one who has obtained knowledge of these things can say, “Your rod and staff have given me comfort.”
100. When the mind has become stripped of passions and enlightened in the contemplation of beings, then it can be in God and pray as it ought.