From the moral teachings of Maxim the Greek
3 / 21 February The Church honors the memory of St. Maxim the Greek († 1556) - ascetic, preacher, translator, deep spiritual writer. And today his words and instructions sound through the centuries, without losing for us its relevance and strength.
A terrible, very terrible disease, oh, soul, is self-esteem, and this evil nature, having established itself for a long time in our souls, requires great labors and feats until it is banished from us.
About generosity and advice
All birds are the finest eagle - by the fact that by the special force of their wings it rises to an unattainable height. Of all those who own the land, the most revered king is the one who governs his kingdom through the mediation of wise advisers and magnanimous commanders and with them arms against adversaries.
Flee the evil of the usurious usury, followed by the terrible crime of God's command and his righteousness; The daring rebuke, and evil deed and flattery constantly bypass the city walls, for the sake of which the tongues are drowned (Ps. 54: 10.), being over pinned by the divine sword. Run the evil deceit, making the Antichrist, that is, the enemy of the evangelical commandments, everyone who consoles them. For Christ the Lord, as it is written, came to resolve the souls of the poor, bound by unrighteous lyches (Ps. 71: 14; LX4: 18.); the moneylender, enraged by the frenzy of zlatolyubiya, again associates them with percentage fetters. Flee usurious evil, who turns his follower into an unfaithful and a servant of godly idols (Eph. 5: 5.). If, however, larceny is a complete service to idols, as we hear from a divine preacher, then with all your strength avoid the malice of crookedness. If you wish to irrevocably settle in the divine mountain together with the saints who pleased God, and with them eternally have fun in the light, then run this abomination ....
Feeding on the blood of the poor living and consoled by the fatal increase, you are like some beast, a bloodsucker, and you try to suck your brains out of dry bones, like dogs and crows. You are commanded, O foolish, to feed the poor with your labors, and not to drink the blood of others by means of covetousness, to serve others, and not to rule over others. Why are you sharpening a knife on your heart? Christ the Lord until the end loved extreme poverty, so that he did not have where to lay down his sacred chapter. You, cursed, do not fear the disastrous depressions of incessantly tormenting poor villagers. Oh, what a terrible frenzy!
Or do you think that by the few of your pieces that you sometimes serve as suitable for your poor gateway, you will get rid of the death of a desecrated and inhumane execution and torment in the flames? You are mad, you deceive yourself; you stand far from the path leading the righteous into the Kingdom of Heaven. For a scoundrel will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, - cries out the divine Paul, these uncomplicated lips of Christ (Eph. 5: 5). If you do not become as zealous as one who has given four times to those who have been wronged by them, and you do not distribute half his poor estates like himself to him, you will not even enter your house as Christ the King, and do not hope to hear from Him: "Today, LX 19: 9).
And gold, surrounding you from everywhere with disastrous care, keeps you like a terrible serpent, why the mind is weaned from the heavenly and angelic view and divine desires. For the flesh, constantly fattened with tasty snacks, plunges into a prolonged sleep, producing bad fleshly desires and desecrations, often, alas, not only in sleep, but also during wakefulness; his eyes look down on him, for his heart is very much elevated by vain hopes for wealth and acquisition, and he already regards himself as someone great, and not as before considered himself the last of all. Therefore, every case is directed at him to receive earthly praise. Then, having reached the desired, immediately, if any trace of hypocritical humility showed before him, he throws it back and shamelessly reveals the pride concealed in him before.
Orthodox Christians abounding in riches and all possessions and, moreover, they received for a while the power that they should use if there was a spark of God's fear in them, in order to obtain through themselves through all truth and mercy inexhaustible riches in heaven; They, being embraced by the greatest frenzy of delirious love of money, offend, plunder, plunder the estates and acquisitions of widows and orphans, inventing all kinds of guilt against the innocent, without fearing God, this terrible avenger for the wronged, condemning covetous people for endless torments, and not ashamed of the people living around them ...
About the prayer of unrepentant sinners
May it be known to us, the pious, that while we are in sin, that is, in the crime of the divine commandments of Christ the God, then even though all the prayers of the saints, and troparia, kontakion, and prayers can be read daily and at all hours, - we have achieved nothing. For the Lord Christ Himself, as if reproaching us and vilifying us, says to us: What do you call Me: Lord, Lord, and do not do it, do I say so? (Luke 6: 46), that is: while you are living in the crime of My commandments, until then you in vain call upon Me with many and long prayers. There is only one that is favorable to Him and a pleasing prayer, it is an active prayer, consisting in that, with all the soul, to fall behind forever from every violation of His holy commandments, and then be established in His fear, creating all truth, with joy spiritually and without hypocrisy.
Representatives of all demonic and astrological charm very obediently obeyed and rhetoricians, and philosophers, and strong kings. Their disciples are all magicians, and magicians, and watch the flight of birds, and placing the fate of a person in dependence on birth under the influence of one or another star, which in the likeness of the serpent pour into the souls of the human poison of their malice and the charm of astrology. Above all of them in general we received power, if we faithfully serve the Creator of all, the King and God, doing always all the holy things His commandments. If we transgress them, we will fall into innumerable misfortunes; But this happens to us according to the destinies of God, and not from the action of blind happiness and not from the influence of the stars, as falsely interprets astrological madness.
About sodomy sins
And if in this life God betrayed their passions of dishonor and uncleanness, it is clear that in the future He will imprison them in eternal tortures and in unbearable longings together with their ancient accomplices, the Sodomites. Oh, what crookedness, what insane and unparalleled depravity! Know thyself, accursed, to what nasty pleasure you have surrendered! Lose it quickly from him, until the unspeakable goodness of God gives you time to repent! Being voluntarily in dishonor, do not you understand that you are digging a manure pit, take the stinking feces that come out from there, eat it and swallow it?
By creating one such infamous lawlessness on one another, which is not even among dumb cattle, you have become more dumb than the most dumb ones. Know yourself, the wicked, know that you were created in the image and likeness of God for good works, that God who created you should be glorified by you, and you also were mutually glorified by Him through the spiritual gifts received from Him. You, blinded and enticed by your godly fleshish lust, are not only deprived of this dignity and beauty of the image of God, to whom you were honored, but also made more unreasonable and wordless than the most dumb animals, daring brazenly before the pure eyes Who created you for a filthy filth that does not exist in dumb animals. It seems to me that those who dare shamelessly at such a filthy filth will be put to more severe torments than the ancient Sodomites: for even before the law and before the commandment forbidding this abominable filth was laid, they were uncharitable before God through ignorance. And now, like them, they are committing this disgraceful deed, they sin not because of ignorance, but because of their greatest insensitivity and insanity, with the full consciousness of the terrible judgment of God.