Maximus the ConfessorIf this title looks familiar, it's because I've posted about a previous chapter in this book, Chapter 31. Since I gave you a brief biography in the previous post, feel free to check back there or see Maximus the Confessor. One tidbit I thought I'd add this time is that his title, "The Confessor", was bestowed because he suffered for the faith but was not martyred. I've been slowly working my way through his writings, and I hope to provide you with a few more entries from him.
The Four Hundred Chapters on Love, Chapter 139
|St. Francis Kneeling Before the Crucifix|
by El Greco
AnalysisMaximus teaches here that our dependence on God creates compassion in us. When we understand our own weakness, truly understand it, then we appreciate God's divine power. I say appreciate, because I don't think Maximus means that God only starts to work when we appreciate our own poverty. Instead, Maximus is saying that we come to know and appreciate God's power when we recognize our own weakness. This dual recognition develops our patience and compassion.
ApplicationGod knew that I needed to read this passage this week. When I fail to recognize my own weakness and my own dependence, then I'm not only acting in ignorance, but I'm also failing those around me. When I recognize the gap between God and me, I can graciously respond to other people's failures.
I'm indebted to The Selected Writings of Maximus Confessor.