ST. MAXIMOS ON THE LORD’S PRAYER: THY KINGDOM COME

pp. 291-294

After we have purified ourselves from passions in previous sections of the prayer, we invoke the kingdom through the Holy Spirit.

“Thy kingdom come”

What does this mean? What are we asking for and what are we promising?

These words represent a new and more intimate level in our relationship with God within the prayer. We are now a step closer to achieving complete union with Him. We are not only asking for the Kingdom to descend on earth but to enter our souls and dwell within us.

St. Maximos tells us that to become the abode of God, we must practice humility and gentleness and detach ourselves from passions. He reminds us that the Lord wanted his disciples to experience the freedom that comes from humility of the soul:

Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble at heart; and your will find rest for your souls; (Matt. 11:29)

A key characteristic of theosis is complete unity and healing from fragmentation. St. Maximos cautions us that this inner unity must begin within us in order to experience the Kingdom of God.

Fragmentation is an indication that the intellect is still enslaved by passions and that divisions are not yet healed. We are exhausted by our spiritual turmoil. Our vision is blurred, and our perception distorted. Caught between dualities—male and female, anger and desire—we can no longer distinguish good from evil.  

On the first (anger) St. Maximos tells us:

[It] tyrannically perverts judgment and makes the mind betray the law of nature; while the second scorns the one dispassionate cause and nature, that alone is truly desirable, in favor of what is inferior, giving preference to the flesh rather than to the spirit, and taking pleasure more in visible things that in the magnificence and glory of intelligible reality. In this way with the lubricity of sensual pleasures it seduces the intellect from the divine perception of spiritual realities that happens proper to it.

Intelligence is “by nature superior to both praise and blame.”

When the kingdom comes, our intelligence becomes free and the world is restored in its rightful order.

He who already lives and moves and has his being in Christ, has annulled in  himself the production of what is imbalanced and disunited; as I have already said, he does not bear within him, like male and female, the opposing dispositions of such passions…

Once the intellect is free from attachments … this way “it should not be burdened any longer with preoccupations about morality as with a shaggy cloak.”

Unity and freedom of the intellect give us peace. We no longer have to struggle to follow God’s will and bridge our distance from God. God’s will and likeness have been incorporated within us.

…the intelligence urges the soul to conform itself by its own free choice to the divine likeliness…

While, on our part, we invoke the Kingdom and purify our soul so that we can receive it, St. Maximos reminds us that God is not passive. God actively wants us to dwell in his kingdom. He created it for us.

(Matt. 25 : 34) Come, you whom my father has blessed, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

The kingdom coming means that our souls are renewed and reborn in God in a way that is incomprehensible and profound.

In souls such as this Christ always desires to be born in a mystical way, becoming incarnate in those who attain salvation

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