August 13, 2010

St. Maximus the Confessor: 18 Spiritual Interpretations of the Transfiguration (6)

Continued from Part Five

F. The mode concerned with providence signifies through Moses how out of love for humankind it is raised above those who are embroiled in evil and error and wisely distinguishes among human beings the ways of departure from the material and corruptible and bodily to the divine and immaterial and bodiless, and with understanding implants the divine laws.

G. The mode of judgment suggests through Elijah how judgment punishes by word and deed those who deserve it, and deals with others suitably in each case in accordance with the underlying matter and kind of virtue or evil. For according to this scriptural passage, it is from things seen beforehand that Moses and Elijah sketch figuratively divine matters in the best way possible, each in a way appropriate to the mode of spiritual contemplation.

H. From what they [Moses and Elijah] said to the Lord and their speaking of the exodus that was about to be fulfilled in Jerusalem, they were taught not only about the accomplishment of the mysteries proclaimed beforehand and by the law and the prophets, but equally they learnt that the precise measure of the ineffable will of God concerning the universe is not to be apprehended by any being at all, nor the measure of the divine economies consequent on that will, nor yet the measure of his great providence and judgment, through which the universe is led in an orderly manner towards the end that is known beforehand by God alone. Of this no one knows its nature, or how it will be, or in what form or when, it is simply known that it will be, and then only to those who have purified their souls through the virtues and have inclined the whole of their mind wholly towards the divine. To them there is granted, as has been said, an apprehension of providence and judgment of the whole nature of visible things, and the modes through which the end of this present harmony naturally consist, and is well-nigh expressly proclaimed.

From Maximus the Confessor by Andrew Louth (Routledge: London 1999) pp. 128-134.