Don’t neglect your spiritual reading. Reading has made many saints.”
St. Josemaría Escrivá
Saint Maximus (ca. 580 - 662 A.D.) began as a civil servant and rose to high office. Later he took monastic vows and became abbot at the monastery of Philippicus in Chrysopolis, a city across the Bosporus from Constantinople (later known as Scutari, the modern Turkish city of Üsküdar).
When the Persians conquered Anatolia, Maximus was forced to flee to a monastery near Carthage. It was there that he came under the tutelage of Saint Sophronius, and began studying in detail the Christological writings of Gregory of Nazianzus and Dionysius. He applied rigorous Aristotelian logic to these writings to make their doctrine clearer, and harder to misunderstand.
The passages from St Maximus which adorn the Office of Readings are chosen to reflect for us the glory of the light of the events of our redemption.
Credit: Adapted from Universalis; https://www.universalis.com.
The light that enlightens every man
From the discourses addressed to Thalassius by Saint Maximus the Confessor
I think that in his wisdom the great David understood this when he called the Lord a lamp: Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. For that is the sort of Saviour my Lord and God is, delivering men from the darkness of ignorance and sin, which is also why scripture calls him a lamp.
Like a lamp he has dispelled the gloom of ignorance and the darkness of sin, and in this way he alone has become the path to salvation for all men. By virtue and knowledge he brings to the Father all those who are resolved to follow him, who is the way of righteousness, by keeping the divine commandments. The Holy Church he calls the lamp-stand, for through its preaching the word of God shines out on it and enlightens all that live in this world, as in a house, with the brightness of truth, filling the minds of all men with the knowledge of God.
The word will not suffer being kept under a bushel: it needs to be set on that great and beautiful lamp-stand that is the Church. For if the word is restricted by the letter of the law, like a light hidden under a bushel, it deprives all men of eternal light. It offers no spiritual vision to men striving to free themselves from the senses. For they recognise that these are misleading, capable only of error and able to grasp only what is of their own nature, that is to say subject to decay. But once the word is placed on the lamp-stand, that is the Church, where God receives true worship in spirit, then it will give light to all men.
If the letter is not understood according to the spirit, then it can only be grasped with the senses, which means that what it has to say is restricted and the force of what is written is not allowed to sink into the mind.
Therefore, let us not put the lamp (that is the enlightening word of knowledge) which we have lit by spiritual contemplation and action under a bushel. Let us not be guilty of restricting the incomprehensible force of wisdom by the letter. Let us put it on the lamp-stand (by that I mean the Church), where on the heights of true contemplation it may hold out the light of divine teaching to all men.
Credit: Divine Office: Office of Readings; Wednesday of the 28th Week in Ordinary Time; https://divineoffice.org/welcome/ Information herein posted under the "rules of fair use" to foster education and discussion in accordance with Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976.
To harbor no envy, no anger, no resentment against an offender is still not to have charity for him. It is possible, without any charity, to avoid rendering evil for evil. But to render, spontaneously, good for evil – such belongs to a perfect spiritual love.”
Saint Maximus the Confessor, abbot
Whoever sees in himself the traces of hatred toward any man on account of any kind of sin is completely foreign to the love of God. For love toward God does not at all tolerate any hatred for man.”
Saint Maximus the Confessor, abbot
“From ancient times the Church has had the custom of celebrating each day the liturgy of the hours. In this way the Church fulfills the Lord’s precept to pray without ceasing, at once offering its praise to God the Father and interceding for the salvation of the world.” — Office of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship. The Liturgy of the Hours is the prayer of the whole People of God. In it, Christ himself “continues his priestly work through his Church.” His members participate according to their own place in the Church and the circumstances of their lives. The laity, too, are encouraged to recite the divine office either with the priests, among themselves, or individually. The celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours demands not only harmonizing the voice with the praying heart, but also a deeper “understanding of the liturgy and of the Bible, especially of the Psalms.” The hymns and litanies of the Liturgy of the Hours integrate the prayer of the psalms into the age of the Church, expressing the symbolism of the time of day, the liturgical season, or the feast being celebrated. Credit: https://divineoffice.org/liturgy-of-the-hours/
Half an hour’s meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is needed.”
Saint Francis de Sales
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Holy Spirit, Light and Life of my Soul, enliven my prayer life.
Be not afraid! And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always. Holy Family, pray for us. Amen.