Chances are you have never heard of St. Maximus. I had not prior to a few weeks ago but am thrilled that I have now stumbled onto his works while on this journey of discovering the ancient paths of our faith. Despite not knowing his name, upon investigation I became aware of a core biblical truth that he was proponent for, the doctrine that Christ was both fully God and fully Man. He was such an proponent for this particular Christological doctrine that it led to persecution such as his tongue being uprooted and his right hand being cut off and eventually being sentenced to exile. Shortly after exile he passed away during the late seventh century.
He wrote and taught extensively on the “incarnation” of Christ and how it related to the reconciliation of all things. He argued that Christ was not simply returning man to an Edenic-state but calling us higher unto a new way of communion with our creator. That, in Christ, God was uniting all things in Heaven and on earth to exist in perfect harmony with Himself. Maximus declared that this was the mystery that Paul preached and the truth of the Gospel and the plan for all time!
The plan was for him to mingle, without change on his part, with the human nature by true hypostatic union, to unite human nature to himself while remaining immutable, so that he might become man, as he alone knew how, and so that he might deify humanity in union with himself.
We are to find solace in the mystery of the Incarnation because our earnest hope is “Christ in” us. It is the new birth that opens the door for us to partake of Christ’s divine nature and live victoriously in this age. It is because of the God-Man that we can rejoice in our sufferings and stand fixed in the middle of turmoil. Our creator is no stranger to pain and suffering and in this beautiful portrait of truth we find strength. Any god who is immune to suffering could never truly be there for those who are suffering. And in Jesus we find our God, the maker of Heaven and earth, declaring “Here I am broken for you!”. The hands that shaped the stars are the very hands that were broken and scarred for you and I.
If God suffers in the flesh when He is made man, should we not rejoice when we suffer, for we have God to share our sufferings? This shared suffering confers the Kingdom on us. For he(Paul) spoke truly Jo said, ‘if we suffer with Him(Christ), then we shall also be glorified with Him!’
The beauty of the Incarnate Son goes so much deeper than just being able to sympathize with our pain. It reaches to the very core of reality and drags the transcendent and eternal right into the present. It is God’s way of uniting humanity with himself in perfect union. A reality that has come and is still coming! Words fail me the morning as I type out this post. The mystery and beauty of the Incarnate-Word is so beyond words and my ability to even communicate its depths but it is something worth contemplating and experiencing. There was a transfer at Golgotha, not just Christ taking up our sin, but an torrential outpouring of His righteousness onto humanity. As John clearly states “as He(Christ) is, so are we in the world”. Maximus states “(the divine nature) has come upon us in potency through faith!”. We have been caught up in communion with God through Christ as that is the glorious revelation of the Incarnation of Christ, man fully alive in God and God in man!
Through whom, to whom, and for whom all things exist!