St. Maximus the Confessor on fraternal charity


Saint Maximus the Confessor (c.580-662), monk and theologian
Century 1 on Love, in the Philocalia

«Be merciful as your Father is merciful»

Don’t attach yourself to the suspicions or the persons of those who would tempt you to become scandalized about certain things. Because those who, in one way or another, are scandalized by what comes their way, whether they wanted it to or not, are unmindful of the way of peace that, through love, guides those who are caught up by it to knowledge of God.

Anyone who is still swayed by other people’s characters and who, for example, loves one but hates another, or who sometimes loves, sometimes hates the same person for the same reasons, does not as yet have perfect love. Perfect love does not split men’s common nature because some of them have different personalities but, always regarding that nature, it loves all equally.

It loves the virtuous as friends and the wicked as enemies, doing good to them, bearing with them with patience, enduring what comes from them, paying no attention to malice, going so far as to suffer for them if the opportunity presents itself.

So it makes friends of them if at all possible.

Or, at the least, it is faithful to itself, always showing its fruits to all alike. Our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, demonstrating the love he bears us, suffered for all humankind and proffered the hope of resurrection to all alike even though each individually, by his works, calls upon himself glory or punishment.


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