St. Maximus the confessor著
201 – 300
《400 sayings about love》
by St. Maximus the confessor
201 – 300
1. The reasonable use of thoughts and things is productive of moderation, love, and knowledge; the unreasonable use, of excess, hate, and ignorance.
2. “You have prepared a table for me, etc.” Table here signifies practical virtue, for this has been prepared by Christ “against those who afflict us.” The oil which anoints the mind is the contemplation of creatures, the cup of God is the knowledge of God itself; his mercy is his Word and God. For through his incarnation he pursues us all days until he gets hold of those who are to be saved, as he did with Paul. The house is the kingdom in which all the saints will be restored. The length of days means eternal life.
3. The vices, whether of the concupiscible, the irascible, or the rational element, come upon us with the misuse of the faculties of the soul. Misuse of the rational faculty is ignorance and folly, of the irascible and concupiscible faculty, hate and intemperance. Their right use is knowledge and prudence. If this is so, nothing created and given existence by God is evil.
4. It is not food which is evil but gluttony, not the begetting of children but fornication, not possessions but greed, not reputation but vainglory. And if this is so, there is nothing evil in creatures except misuse, which stems from the mind’s negligence in its natural cultivation.
5. The blessed Dionysius says that among the demons this is what evil is: irrational anger, senseless lust, reckless imagination. But among rational beings unreasonableness, recklessness, and rashness are privations of reason, sense, and circumspection. Now privations follow upon habits; so then the demons once had reason, sense, and religious circumspection. If this is correct, then neither the demons are evil by nature; rather they have become evil through the misuse of their natural faculties.
6. Some passions are productive of intemperance, others of hate, and still others of both intemperance and hate.
7. Excessive and sumptuous eating are causes of intemperance; greed and vainglory cause hatred of neighbor. But their mother, self‐love, is the cause of both.
8. Self-love is the passionate and irrational affection for the body, to which is opposed love and self-mastery. The one who has self-love has all the passions.
9. 宗徒說：「從來沒有人恨惡自己的肉體的」（以弗所書23:5），「乃是痛打我的身體，驅使它做奴僕」（歌林多前書 9:27）我們只應在最低限度上，使肉體得到衣食等生活必須品的滿足。這樣一來，我們對肉體的愛就能脫離情欲，我們也會將肉體視為神性的事物，好好照顧它，為了它著想，讓它只在基本的需求上得到滿足。
9. “No one,” says the Apostle, “hates his own flesh,” of course, “but mortifies it and makes it his slave,” allowing it no more than “food and clothing” and these only as they are necessary for life. So in this way one loves it without passion and rears it as an associate in divine things and takes care of it only with those things which satisfy its needs.
10. When a person loves someone, he is naturally eager to be of service. So if one loves God, he is naturally eager to do what is pleasing to him. But if he loves his flesh, he is eager to accomplish what delights it.
11. What pleases God is love, temperance, contemplation, and prayer. What pleases the flesh is gluttony, intemperance, and what contributes to them. Therefore, “those who are in the flesh cannot please God. And those who are Christ’s have crucified their flesh with its passions and lusts.”
12. When the mind inclines toward God, it keeps the body as a servant and allows it nothing more than what is necessary for life. But when it inclines toward the flesh, it becomes a servant of the passions and always makes provision for its lusts.
13. If you want to prevail over your thoughts, take care of your passions and you will easily drive them from your mind. Thus for fornication, fast, keep vigil, work hard, keep to yourself. For anger and hurt, disdain reputation and dishonor and material things. For grudges, pray for the one who has hurt you and you will be rid of them.
14. Do not compare yourself to weaker men, but rather reach out to the commandment of love. For by comparing yourself to these you fall into the pit of conceit; in reaching out for the latter you advance to the heights of humility.
15. If you are really observing the commandment of love of neighbor, for what reason do you bear him the bitterness of resentment? Is it not clearly because in preferring transient things to love and in holding on to them you are making war on your brother?
16. Not so much out of necessity has gold become enviable by men as that with it most of them can provide for their pleasures.
17. There are three reasons for the love of money: pleasure-seeking, vainglory, and lack of faith. And more serious than the other two is lack of faith.
18. The hedonist loves money because with it he lives in luxury; the vain person because with it he can be praised; the person who lacks faith because he can hide it and keep it while in fear of hunger, or old age, or illness, or exile. He lays his hope on it rather than on God the maker and provider of the whole creation, even of the last and least of living things.
19. There are four kinds of people who acquire money, the three just mentioned and the financial administrator. Obviously only he acquires it for the right reason: so that he might never run short in relieving each one’s need.
20. All passionate thoughts either excite the concupiscible, disturb the irascible, or darken the rational element of the soul. From this it comes about that the mind is hampered in its spiritual contemplation and in the flight of prayer. And because of this the monk, and especially the solitary, should give serious heed to his thoughts and both know and eliminate their causes. Thus, for instance, he should know that passionate memories of women arouse the concupiscible element of the soul and are caused by incontinence in eating and drinking, as well as by frequent and unreasonable association with these same women. Hunger, thirst, vigils, and solitude eliminate them. Again, passionate memories of those who have hurt us stir up the temper; their causes are pleasure-seeking, vainglory, and attachment to material things, for the aroused person is saddened because he has either lost these things or not attained them. Disdain and contempt of these things for the love of God eliminates them.
21. God knows himself and the things created by him. The holy angels also know God and they know, too, the things created by him. But the holy angels do not know God and the things created by him as God knows himself and the things created by him.
22. God knows himself of his own sacred essence, and the things created by him from his wisdom, through which and in which he made all things. The holy angels, however, know God by participation, though he is beyond participation, and they know things created by him by a perception of what is contemplated in them.
23. Created things are indeed outside the mind, but it receives their contemplation inside it. This is not so with the eternal, infinite, and immense God, who freely bestows being, well-being, and eternal being on his creatures.
24. A nature endowed with reason and understanding participates in the holy God by its very being, by its aptitude for well-being (that is, for goodness and wisdom), and by the free gift of eternal being. In this way it knows God; and things created by him, as was said, it knows by a perception of the ordered wisdom to be observed in creation. This wisdom exists in the mind as simple and without substance of its own.
25. In bringing into existence a rational and intelligent nature, God in his supreme goodness has communicated to it four of the divine attributes by which he maintains, guards, and preserves creatures: being, eternal being, goodness, and wisdom. The first two of these he grants to the essence, the second two to its faculty of will; that is, to the essence he gives being and eternal being, and to the volitive faculty he gives goodness and wisdom in order that what he is by essence the creature might become by participation. For this reason he is said to be made “to the image and likeness of God”: to the image of his being by our being, to the image of his eternal being by our eternal being (even though not without a beginning, it is yet without end); to the likeness of his goodness by our goodness, to the image of his wisdom by our wisdom. The first is by nature, the second by grace. Every rational nature indeed is made to the image of God; but only those who are good and wise are made to his likeness.
26. All rational and intelligent nature is divided into two, namely, angelic and human nature. And all angelic nature is again divided into two general sides or groupings, holy or accursed, that is, into holy powers and impure demons. All human nature is divided as well into only two general sides, religious and irreligious.
27. God as absolute existence, goodness, and wisdom (or rather, to speak more properly, as transcending all these things) has no contrary quality whatever. But creatures, because they all have existence, and rational and intelligent ones their aptitude for goodness and wisdom by participation and grace, do have contrary qualities. To existence is opposed nonexistence, to the aptitude for goodness and wisdom is opposed vice and ignorance. For them to exist forever or not to exist is in the power of their maker. To share in his goodness and wisdom or not to share depends on the will of rational beings.
28. When the Greek philosophers affirm that the substance of beings coexisted eternally with God and that they received only their individual qualities from him, they say that there is nothing contrary to substance but that opposition is found only in the qualities. We maintain, however, that the divine substance alone has no contrary because it is eternal and infinite and bestows eternity on the other substances; furthermore that nonbeing is the contrary of the substance of beings and that their eternal being or nonbeing lies in the power of the one who properly is being, “and his gifts are not subject to revision.” And therefore it both always is and will be sustained by his all-powerful might even though it has nonbeing as its opposite, as was said, since it was brought into being from nonbeing by God and whether it has being or nonbeing depends on his will.
29. Just as evil is the privation of good and ignorance that of knowledge, so is nonbeing the privation of being—but not of being properly so called, for it has no contrary—but of true being by participation. Privations of the former depend on the will of creatures; privation of the latter depends on the will of the Creator, who out of goodness ever wills his creatures to exist and to receive benefits from him.
30. Of all creatures, some are rational and intelligent and admit of opposites such as virtue and vice, knowledge and ignorance. Others are various bodies composed of opposites such as earth, air, fire, and water. And there are some completely without body or matter, though some of these are united to bodies, and others have their makeup only of matter and form.
31. All bodies are by nature without movement. They are moved by a soul, whether rational, irrational, or insensitive.
32. The soul’s powers are for nourishment and growth, for imagination and appetite, for reason and understanding. Plants share only in the first powers, irrational animals share in the second as well, and men in the third in addition to the first two. Moreover, the first two powers prove to be perishable, but the third is imperishable and immortal.
33. The holy angels, in communicating their illumination with one another, also communicate to human nature either their virtue or the knowledge which they have. Thus with their virtue, as an imitation of the divine goodness, they benefit themselves, each other, and those beneath them by making them Godlike. With their knowledge, as either something loftier about God (“You, Lord, are forever most high,” says Scripture), or deeper about bodies, or more accurate about incorporeal beings, or clearer about Providence, or more manifest about judgment.
34. Impurity of mind means first to have false knowledge; next to be ignorant of any of the universals—I speak of the human mind, since an angel is not ignorant of particular things; thirdly in having passionate thoughts; and fourthly in consenting to sin.
35. Impurity of soul means not acting according to nature, for from this are begotten passionate thoughts in the mind. Now it acts in accord with nature when its sensitive drives, that is, anger and concupiscence, remain free of passion under the assault of material things and the representations they bring.
36. Impurity of body is a sin in deed.
37. The one who is not affected by the things of the world loves solitude ; the one who does not love anything human loves all men; and the one who takes no offense at anyone, either because of faults or suspicious thoughts, possesses the knowledge of God and of divine realities.
38. It is a great thing not to be affected by things; but it is far better to remain detached from their representations.
39. Love and self-mastery keep the mind detached from things and from their representations.
40. The mind of the one who loves God does not engage in battle against things nor against their representations, but against the passions joined to these representations. Thus it does not war against the woman nor against the one who offends him, nor against their images, but against the passions that are joined to these images.
41. The whole war of the monk against the demons is to separate the passions from the representations. Otherwise he will not be able to look on things without passion.
42. Thing, representation, and passion are all different realities. A thing is, for instance, a man, a woman, gold, and so forth. A representation is, for instance, a simple recollection of any of these things. Passion, however, is an irrational affection or senseless hate for any of these things. Therefore the monk’s battle is directed against passion.
43. A passionate representation is a thought made up of passion and representation. Let us separate the passion from the representation, and the simple thought will remain. We can, if we wish, make this separation through spiritual love and self-mastery.
44. The virtues separate the mind from the passions; spiritual contemplations separate it from simple representations; then pure prayer sets it before God himself.
45. The virtues are related to the knowledge of creatures, knowledge to the knower, the knower to the one who is known in ignorance and whose knowing transcends knowledge.
46. God who is beyond fullness did not bring creatures into being out of any need of his, but that he might enjoy their proportionate participation in him and that he might delight in his works seeing them delighted and ever insatiably satisfied with the one who is inexhaustible.
47. The world has many poor in spirit, but not in the right way; and many who mourn, but over money matters and loss of children; and many who are meek, but in the face of impure passions; and many who hunger and thirst, but to rob another’s goods and to profit unjustly. And there are many who are merciful, but to the body and to its comforts ; and clean of heart, but out of vanity; and peacemakers, but who subject the soul to the flesh; and many who suffer persecution, but because they are disorderly; many who are reproached, but for shameful sins. Instead, only those are blessed who do and suffer these things for Christ and following his example. For what reason? “Because theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” and “they shall see God,” and so forth. So that it is not because they do and suffer these things that they are blessed (since those just mentioned do the same), but because they do and suffer them for Christ and following his example.
48. In everything that we do God looks at the intention, as has frequently been said, whether we do it for him or for any other motive. Therefore when we wish to do something good, let us not have human applause in view but rather God, so that always looking to him we might do everything on his account; otherwise we shall undergo the labor and still lose the reward.
49. In time of prayer chase from your mind the simple representations of human matters and the ideas of every creature, lest in creating images of lesser things you be deprived of the one who is incomparably better than them all.
50. If we sincerely love God we cast out the passions by this very love. Love for him means to prefer him to the world and the soul to the body. It means to despise worldly things and to devote oneself continually to him through self-mastery, love, prayer, psalmody, and so forth.
51. If we devote ourselves to God for a considerable period and give heed to the sensitive part of the soul, we no longer run headlong into the assaults of thoughts. Rather, in very carefully considering their causes and in eradicating them we become more perceptive and have the words fulfilled in us, “My eye also has looked down on my enemy, and my ear shall hear the malignant who rise up against me.”
52. When you see that your mind is conducting itself devoutly and justly in representations of the world, know then that your body, too, remains pure and sinless. But when you see that your mind is giving itself over to sins in thought and you do not resist, know that your body, too, will not be long in falling in with those sins.
53. Just as the body has material things for its world, so does the mind have representations for its world, and just as the body commits fornication with a woman’s body, so does the mind commit fornication with the representation of a woman’s body through its own body’s fantasies. For in its mind it sees the shape of its own body joined with that of a woman. In the same way the mind wards off the picture of the one who has offended us through the shape of its own body. And similarly for other sins. For what the body does through action in the world of material reality, the mind also does in the world of representations.
54. 沒有理由為了「聖父並不會審判任何人，而是把所有的審判交給了聖子」這個概念而不安、驚訝或感到震驚；聖子大聲的叫喊：「你們別論斷人了，免得你們被論斷。因為你們怎樣論斷人，也必怎樣被論斷；」（馬太福音 7:1-2）宗徒也說：「定時未到以前，什麼都不要論斷了；只等主來」（歌林多前書 4:5）又說：「在什麼事上論斷人，就在什麼事上定你自己的罪。」（羅馬書 2:1）但是，當人們忘了哀悼自己的罪時，人們就奪去了聖子的審判，儘管自己有罪，自己然仍彼此互相的審判與論斷。為此，「天堂感到驚訝」，而塵世被擾亂，而人們卻因為自己的遲鈍，而不知羞恥。
54. There is no reason to be disturbed, shocked, or astonished by the idea that God the Father judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son. The Son cries out, “Do not judge lest you be judged. Do not condemn lest you be condemned.” And the Apostle likewise, “Judge not before the time until the Lord comes,” and, “With the judgment that you judge another you condemn yourself.” But in neglecting to lament their own sins, men take judgment away from the Son and they themselves, though sinful, judge and condemn each other. And “at this heaven is astonished,” earth is disturbed, but they in their insensitivity are not ashamed.
55. The one who meddles in the sins of others or even judges his brother on a suspicion has not yet laid the foundation of repentance nor sought to know his own sins (which are truly heavier than an enormous weight of lead). Neither does he know how it comes about that the man who loves vanities and seeks after lies becomes heavy-hearted. Thus as a foolish person going about in the dark he takes no mind of his own sins and imagines those of others whether they actually exist or he only suspects them.
56. Self-love, as has frequently been said, is the cause of all passionate thoughts. From it are begotten the three capital thoughts of concupiscence : gluttony, greed, and vanity. From gluttony the thought of fornication arises; from greed, that of covetousness; and from vanity, that of arrogance. All the rest follow one or the other of these three: the thoughts of anger, grief, resentment, sloth, envy, back-biting, and the rest. These passions, then, bind the mind to material things and keep it down on the earth, weighing on it like a very heavy stone, though by nature it should be lighter and livelier than fire.
57. The beginning of all passions is love of self, and the end is pride. Self-love is irrational love of the body, and if one eliminates this he eliminates along with it all the passions stemming from it.
58. Just as parents have affection for the offspring of their bodies, so also is the mind naturally attached to its own reasonings. And just as to their parents who are emotionally attached the children appear as the fairest and handsomest of all even though in every way they might be the most hideous of all, so it is with the foolish mind. Its reasonings, even though they might be the most depraved of all, still appear in its view as the most sensible of all. However, this is not the case with the wise man and his reasonings. Rather, when it seems convincing that they are true and correct, then especially does he distrust his own judgment but makes use of other wise men as judges of his own reasonings (so as not to run or have run in vain), and from them he receives assurance.
59. When you overcome any of the dishonorable passions, such as gluttony, fornication, anger, or covetousness, suddenly the thought of vanity lights upon you. But when you overcome this, that of pride follows in short order.
60. All the dishonorable passions that hold sway over the soul drive out the thought of vanity from it, and when all these have given way, they set it loose on the soul.
61. Vanity, whether it is eliminated or whether it remains, begets pride. When eliminated it produces conceit, when remaining it produces pretentiousness.
62. Discreet practice eliminates vainglory; ascribing our right actions to God removes pride.
63. A person who has been honored with the knowledge of God and is abundantly enjoying the pleasure it provides disdains all the pleasures begotten from lust.
64. The one who lusts after earthly things lusts after food, or what serves the lower passions, or human applause, or money, or something else associated with them. And unless the mind finds something better than these to which it can transfer its desire, it will not be completely persuaded to disdain them. And better than these by far is the knowledge of God and of divine things.
65. Those who disdain pleasures do so either out of fear or hope or knowledge and love of God.
66. Knowledge of divine things without passion does not persuade the mind to disdain material things completely, but rather resembles the mere thought of a thing of sense. Thus one finds many men with considerable knowledge who yet wallow in the passions of the flesh like pigs in mud. For in reaching through their diligence a certain degree of purification and in acquiring knowledge but in later growing careless they can be compared to Saul, who after being given the kingship conducted himself unworthily and was dismissed from it with terrible wrath.
67. Just as the simple thought of human realities does not oblige the mind to disdain the divine, so neither does the simple knowledge of divine things persuade it fully to disdain human things, for the reason that the truth exists now in shadows and figures. Hence there is a need for the blessed passion of holy love, which binds the mind to spiritual realities and persuades it to prefer the immaterial to the material and intelligible and divine things to those of sense.
68. The one who has eliminated the passions and produced simple thoughts has still not yet completely turned them into divine things but can be drawn neither to human nor to divine things. This is the case of those in the active life who have not yet been given knowledge and who abstain from the passions out of fear or out of hope of the kingdom.
69. 「我們是憑著信仰而行，而不是憑著眼見。」（歌林多後書 5:7）我們擁有知識只是反射出來的東西，只是一團謎。因此，我們必須專注於這些問題，以至於在長久的實踐和討論中，我們可以煅造出靜觀的習慣。
69. “We walk by faith, not by sight,” and have knowledge in mirrors and riddles. Because of this we need to be very occupied with these so that through lengthy exercise and discussion we might forge a tenacious habit of contemplation.
70. If after eliminating only to some extent the causes of the passions we devote ourselves to spiritual contemplations but are not constantly occupied with them, we can while doing this easily revert once more to the body’s passions. In this event we can expect to gather no other fruit except simple knowledge with conceit. The result of this is the gradual obscuring of this knowledge and the complete turning of the mind to material things.
71. The blameworthy passion of love engrosses the mind in material things. The praiseworthy passion of love binds it even to divine things. For generally where the mind devotes its time it also expands, and where it expands it also turns its desire and love, whether this be in divine and intelligible things which are its own or in the things of the flesh and the passions.
72. God created the invisible world and the visible world, and naturally he made the soul and the body as well. Now if this visible world is so beautiful, what sort of world will the invisible be? If it is better than the former, how much better than both is the one who created them? If then the Maker of everything that is beautiful is better than all creatures, for what reason does the mind leave the best of all to be engrossed in the worst of all, by which I mean the passions of the flesh? Or is it not clear that having lived and associated with the flesh from birth, the mind has not yet received a perfect experience of the one who is best of all and who transcends all? Therefore if by a prolonged exercise of self-mastery over pleasure and of attention to divine things we gradually break it away from such a relationship, it expands and gradually advances in divine things and recognizes its own dignity and finally transfers its whole longing onto God.
73. The one who speaks in a detached way of his brother’s sins does so for two reasons, either to correct him or to help someone else. If he speaks apart from these either to him or to another, he does so with reproach and disparagement. He will not escape being forsaken by God but will surely fall into the same or another failure, and dishonored and reproached by others he will find disgrace.
74. There is not just one reason why sinners commit the same sin in deed, but several. For instance, it is one thing to sin from habit and another to sin by being carried away. In this case the sinner did not fully reflect either before or after the sin but rather was deeply grieved over the incident. The one who sins from habit is quite the reverse, for first he does not cease sinning in thought and after the act he maintains the same disposition.
75. The one who seeks after the virtues out of vainglory obviously seeks after knowledge as well out of vainglory. Clearly such a person neither does nor says anything for the sake of improvement but is in all circumstances pursuing the approval of the onlookers or hearers. The passion is detected when some of these people impose censure on his deeds or his words and he is enormously grieved thereby, not because he did not edify, for such was not his purpose, but because of his own disgrace.
76. The passion of greed is revealed when one is happy in receiving but unhappy in giving. Such a person cannot be a good steward.
77. A person endures suffering for these reasons: for the love of God, for the hope of a reward, out of a fear of punishment, out of fear of men, through nature, for pleasure, for profit, out of vainglory, or out of necessity.
78. It is one thing to be delivered from thoughts and another to be freed from passions. In fact someone may be often delivered from thoughts of those objects in their absence toward which he has acquired a passion, but the passions are hidden in the soul and are revealed when the objects appear. Therefore it is necessary to observe the mind when the objects are present and determine for which of them it holds an attachment.
79. That is a genuine friend if in time of temptation he supports his neighbor by bearing as his own, without clamor or display, his incidental tribulation, suffering, and misfortunes.
80. Do not disregard your conscience when it always recommends the best choices. In fact, it proposes to you divine and angelic advice; it frees you from your heart’s secret defilements, and grants you familiarity before God at the moment of departure.
81. If you want to become judicious and moderate and no servant of the passion of conceit, always seek in things what is hidden from your knowledge. You will indeed find a great many diverse things which have eluded you, and you will be astonished at your own ignorance and temper your pride. And in knowing yourself you will understand many great and wonderful things, since to think that one knows does not allow one to advance in knowledge.
82. A person definitely wants to be healed if he does not put up any resistance to the healing remedies: These are the pains and hurts brought on by many different circumstances. The one who resists does not know what is being worked out here nor what advantage he would draw from it when he leaves this world.
83. Vainglory and greed are mutually begotten of each other, for while the vain grow rich, the rich grow vain, but only in a worldly sense. Since the monk is without possessions he becomes all the more vain, and when he does have money he hides it in shame as something unbecoming to his calling.
84. It is characteristic of a monk’s vainglory that he become vain about his virtue and whatever is associated with it. It is characteristic of his pride that he be elated over his good deeds, dismiss other people, and ascribe these deeds to himself and not to God. It is characteristic of the worldly person’s vainglory and pride that he be vain and elated over appearances, wealth, position, and pride.
85. The achievements of those in the world are misfortunes for monks, and the achievements of monks are misfortunes for those in the world. For instance the achievements of those in the world are wealth, fame, position, luxury, bodily comfort, fine children, and what is associated with these. If a monk comes to this, he is lost. On the other hand the monk’s achievements are to be without possessions, fame, or influence, also self-mastery, endurance, and what is associated with these. If these things happen to a man of the world against his will he considers it a great misfortune and often comes close to hanging himself ; indeed, some have done so.
86. Food was created for two reasons, for nourishment and for healing. Therefore those who take it for any other reason misuse what has been given for their use and are condemned for their luxury. And as with everything, misuse is sin.
87. Humility is continual prayer with tears and suffering. For this constant calling on God for help does not allow us to trust foolishly in our own strength and wisdom nor to be arrogant toward others. These are the dangerous diseases of the passion of pride.
88. It is one thing to fight against a simple thought so as not to arouse passion. It is another thing to fight a passionate thought to avoid giving consent. But in both of these ways the thoughts are not allowed to linger.
89. Hurt is linked to resentment. Thus when someone’s mind associates the face of a brother with hurt, it is clear that he bears him a grudge. But “the ways of the resentful lead to death,” because, “every resentful man is a transgressor of the law.”
90. If you bear a grudge against anyone, pray for him and you will stop the passion in its tracks. By prayer you separate the hurt from the memory of the evil which he did you and in becoming loving and kind you completely obliterate passion from the soul. On the other hand, if someone else bears you a grudge, be generous and humble with him, treat him fairly, and you will deliver him from the passion.
91. You will check the hurt of the envious person with great difficulty, for he considers what he envies in you as his misfortune. It can be checked in no other way but in hiding something from him. But if the thing is helpful to many yet gives him grief, which side will you choose? It is certainly necessary to be of service to the many while still taking as much care as possible that you be not carried off by the vice of passion, since you could be retaliating not against the passion but against the one who is experiencing it. Instead, you will through humility regard him as above yourself and in every time, place, and situation prefer him to yourself. You will be able to check your own envy if you join the one you envy in rejoicing at what he rejoices at and grieving over what he grieves over. In this way you fulfill the Apostle’s words, “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.”
92. Our mind is in the middle of two things, each one active at its own work, the one at virtue, the other at vice, in other words between angel and devil. The mind has the power and strength to follow or oppose the one it chooses.
93. On the one hand, the holy angels urge us on to the good, and natural tendencies and a good will assist us. On the other hand, passions and an evil will support the assaults of the demons.
94. Sometimes God himself lights on a pure mind and teaches it, sometimes the holy angels propose fine things, sometimes the nature of material reality is contemplated.
95. It is necessary that the mind which has been granted knowledge keep its representations of things without passion, its contemplations secure, and its state of prayer untroubled. But it cannot always keep them from the impulses of the flesh, because it is blackened with smoke from the contrivance of demons.
96. We are not grieved by the same things that anger us, for the things which produce grief are more numerous than those which produce anger. For instance one thing is broken, another is lost, such a person dies. For these things we have only grief, but for the others we experience both grief and anger so long as we are irreligiously disposed.
97. When the mind receives the representations of things, it of course patterns itself after each representation. In contemplating them spiritually it is variously conformed to each object contemplated. But when it comes to be in God, it becomes wholly without form and pattern, for in contemplating the one who is simple it becomes simple and entirely patterned in light.
98. The perfect soul is the one whose affective drive is wholly directed to God.
99. The perfect mind is the one that through genuine faith supremely knows in supreme ignorance the supremely unknowable, and in gazing on the universe of his handiwork has received from God comprehensive knowledge of his Providence and judgment in it, as far as allowable to men.
100. Time is divided in three, and faith extends to all three divisions, hope to one, love to two. Faith and hope remain to a certain point, but love for infinite ages in a supreme and ever abounding union with the one who is supremely infinite. And because of this, “the greatest of these is love.”