January 13

From the Prologue

In the fourteenth century, Maximus led an ascetical life as a monk on Mt. Athos in his own unique way. That is to say, he pretended to be a little crazy and constantly changed his dwelling place. His place of abode consisted of a hut made from branches. He built these huts one after the other and then burned them, for this he was called Kapsokalivitos, i.e., "hut-burner. He was considered insane until the arrival of St. Gregory Sinaites to Mt. Athos, who discovered in Maximus a unique ascetic, a wonder-working intercessor and "an angel in the flesh." He died in the Lord in the year 1320 A.D.



Prayer in the heart beats as a heart,

Prayer in the heart, together with breathing,

Internal prayer, the light from within,

On Athos, was manifested by Maximus.

As a spirit without a body, Maximus was uplifted,

From prayer, completely radiated with light;

From prayer, was filled with joy

From prayer, was filled with satisfaction

Through prayer, saw the heavens opened.

Through prayer, the human being was glorified,

By prayer, felt the nearness of Christ,

The Holy All-Pure One openly appeared to him.

With heaven the soul of Maximus was sated.

Gregory of Sinai once asked him:

"Tell me, O righteous Maximus, from where do you know

That you have good and not evil visions,

And that all of these are not illusions of the devil,

False temptations and Satan's deceptions?"

"From this, I know," says he, "that they are not lies,

That these visions, the spirit and body console,

That my spirit always yearns after them

That, from the sign of the cross, they will not vanish,

By sweet joy, a temptation, I know it is not,

By blessed joy that warms me completely."

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St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas