Tuesday, January 21, 2014

St. Maximus the Confessor - My Main Man!

January 21st - St. Maximus the Confessor (30th Monday after Pentecost)
Hebrews 12:25-26, 13:22-25
Mark 10:2-10
Life of St. Maximus

Troparion: Let us the faithful fittingly praise the lover of the Trinity, / the great Maximus who taught the God-inspired faith, / that Christ is to be glorified in His two natures, wills, and energies; / and let us cry to him: “Rejoice, herald of the faith.

St. Maximus the Confessor is one of my favorite saints, and the saint I took as my patron when I was Chrismated.  He is best known for his defense of the Dithelite Christological position (Christ had two natural wills) but has been very prevalent in recent Orthodox theology, both for his anthropology and spirituality, and also for his cosmological musings based in Neoplatonism but with a decidedly Christian take.  He expounded on numerous philosophical/theological topics from Scripture, including the idea that the logoi or "ideas of the Mind of creation" (one Logos who is Christ as the Logic of God, and that creative logic in creation as logoi through which the Logos pushes creation to a telos or goal).  St. Maximus' ideas of humanity are very interesting, and the tie of humanity and rationality to Christ as the cosmic incarnate Mind of God is something that has been toyed with in modern Orthodox forays into science and theology, even if the Neoplatonism is jettisoned in favor of phenomenological approaches (Nesteruk) or post-modern metaphysics (Yannaras).

I highly recommend reading some of his work and actually "chewing" on it.  Take some time and think about it...meditate on it.  Two approachable collections are The Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ from St. Vladimir's Seminary Press (their "Popular Patristics Series") and Maximus the Confessor in the "Classics of Western Spirituality" collection.  Some of his other work that has been published and translated to English are The Life of the Virgin Mary and Questions and Doubts.  One musing on some of his work is here.

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