St Maximus the Confessor: Have You Become Worthy of the Eighth Day?

Feast of Sts Silas, Silvan, Crescens, Epenetus & Adronicus the Apostles of the 70

Maximus_Square.jpgACCORDING TO Scripture, the sixth day brings in the completion of beings subject to nature. The seventh limits the movement of temporal distinctiveness. The eighth indicates the manner of existence above nature and time.

The one who spends the sixth day solely according to the Law in fleeing the tyranny of the passions which strongly oppress the soul fearlessly crosses the sea toward the desert; he observes the Sabbath only by the inactivity of the passions. But the one who crosses the Jordan, having gone even beyond the simple state of inactivity of the passions, comes into the inheritance of the virtues.

The one who spends the sixth day according to the Gospel, having already given up the first movements of sin, acquires by his virtues the state of detachment which is removed from all evil; he makes Sabbath in his mind of the simple representation of the passions. The one who has crossed over the Jordan is transported to the region of knowledge where the mind, mystically built by peace as a temple, becomes “the dwelling-place of God in the Spirit” (Eph. 2.22).

The one who has divinely accomplished in himself the sixth day by appropriate works and thoughts, and who has with God nobly brought his works to an end, has crossed by comprehension all the ground of what is subject to nature and time. He is transported to the mystical contemplation of the immortal ages, and in an unknowable manner he makes Sabbath in his mind in leaving behind and totally surpassing beings. The one who has become worthy of the eighth day is risen from the dead, that is, from what is less than God: sensible and intelligible things, words, and thoughts; and he lives the blessed life of God, who alone is said to be and is in very truth the Life, in such a way that he becomes himself God by deification.

The sixth day is the full accomplishment of the natural activities of those who practice virtue. The seventh is the fulfillment and rest of the natural activities of those who contemplate the ineffable knowledge. The eighth is the promotion and transition to deification of those who are worthy. The Lord has perhaps never allowed a more mystical glance at these seventh and eighth days than in referring to them as the day and the hour of fulfillment, since it encloses the mysteries and the principles of all things. Absolutely no heavenly or earthly power can know these days before experiencing the passion, only the blessed divinity which created them.

The sixth day reveals the principle of being of things, the seventh indicates the manner of the well-being of things, the eighth communicates the ineffable mystery of the eternal well-being of things.

—St Maximus the Confessor, Two Hundred Chapters on Theology and the Economy in the Flesh of the Son of God

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