ST. MAXIMOS ON THE LORD’S PRAYER: THY WILL BE DONE

pp. 294-298

At this point in the prayer we move to a higher level of mystical participation in God. To enable this union with Him, Maximos asks us to “clean ourselves from all pollution of the flesh and spirit.” (2 Cor. 7).

As the first step in the cleansing process, he asks that we abandon all previous, logical frames of reference on which we relied to understand the world and ourselves.  

In God there is unity among elements even in ways that defy logic. Hence we cannot be reconciled and united with God through logic alone.

Christianity is based on trinitarian theology and is, hence, whole and complete. On the contrary, St. Maximos explains, other religions are fragmented and incomplete. The Greeks believe in multiple “ruling principles” while the Jews uphold faith in one single person that is narrow and deprived of Logos and Spirit.

Maximos presents trinitarian theology as true religion.

In Him, there is only the principle of true religion and the steadfast law of mystical theology, that rejects both the dilatation of the Divinity, as in Greek polytheism, and the contraction of the Divinity, as in Jewish monotheism.

We cannot achieve a state of union with God only through things that are visible and understood through linear logic. We must enter this theology mystically. We are, in fact, asked to suspend all relational measures and sequences: one and many; cause and effect, before and after. Mystical theology teaches us by grace that:

“the divinity is not one thing and then another thing: the unity does not differ from the Trinity by distinction of nature; the nature is simple and single in both.

In Divinity, one is not derived from another or is the effect of a cause:

“The Trinity does not derive from the Unity, since it is ungenerated and self-manifested. On the contrary, the Unity and the Trinity are both affirmed and conceived as truly one and the same.”

Secondly, since there are no dividing lines, all men are equal, and Christians cannot base relationships on power of one over another.  

In Christian doctrine there is no male and female, nor Greek and Jew in the proclamation of truth …that is, the deliberate fragmentation of the single nature of human beings…”

Humility and gentleness of heart are key characteristics of the Kingdom.  Humble people are not weak or timid. They simply know how to use the power given to them is ways that do not dominate, embarrass, or humiliate others, and by freeing activities from passions and submitting them to intelligence.  We must enter into a “marriage of the soul with the Logos.”

Having cleansed ourselves and submitted to God, we are ready for the next line in the prayer: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  This is no longer a request but a promise on our part. And we fulfill this promise through action rather than words, by incorporating God’s will into our own and imitating God.

To unite our will with God’s means that we submit all our faculties to Him. Our intelligence is no longer driven by passions, such as the desire to impress, control or gain power, but is subservient to God’s will and is motivated by the desire to reach heaven. In essence, we are allowing “God’s will to be done.”

He who worships God mystically with the faculty of the intelligence alone, keeping it free from sensual desire and anger, fulfills the divine will on earth just as the orders of angels fulfill it in heaven.

Our intelligence, in fact, must serve to bring us closer to God and re-order our souls towards an eternal quest for Him.

Let our whole intelligence be moved to seek God.”

We then become like the angels always worshiping God and not being attracted to anything but God.

Give us this day our daily bread.

If we live this way, we will receive our daily bread—nourishment for our souls.

for in this way the food of the bread of life and knowledge will triumph over the death that comes through sin.

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