Elizabeth rescued and blessed.

“I laughed on the way home, and I laughed again for sheer satisfaction when we reached the garden and drove between the quiet trees to the pretty old house; for when I went into the library, with its four windows open to the moonlight and the scent, and looked round at the familiar bookshelves, and could hear no sounds but sounds of peace, and knew that here I might read or dream or idle exactly as I chose with never a creature to disturb me, how grateful I felt to the kindly Fate that has brought me here and given me a heart to understand my own blessedness, and rescued me from a life like that I had just seen — a life spent with the odours of other people’s dinners in one’s nostrils, and the noise of their wrangling servants in one’s years, and parties and tattle for all amusement.”

― Elizabeth von Arnim, Elizabeth and Her German Garden

Heart and body becoming clear.

SONG OF THE PINES

I like sitting alone when the moon is shining,
And there are two pines standing before the verandah;
A breeze comes from the southwest,
Creeping into the branches and leaves.
Under the brilliant moon at midnight
It whistles a cool, distant music,
Like rustling rains in empty mountains
And the serene harp-strings in the fall.
On first hearing them, the heat of summer is washed away:
And this suffocating boredom comes to an end.
So I keep awake the whole night,
Both the heart and body becoming clear.
Along the south street coaches and horses are stirring,
In the west city sounds of playing and singing.
Who knows that under the roof-trees of this place
The ears are full, but not with noise.

-Po Chü-i (772 – 846) China

Ma Yuan (馬遠, c.1160-1225)

Philosophy springs.

“Philosophy springs from the love of being; it is man’s loving endeavor to perceive the order of being and attune himself to it. Gnosis desires dominion over being; in order to seize control of being the Gnostic constructs his system. The building of systems is a gnostic form of reasoning, not a philosophical one.”

―Eric Voegelin

We are destined for higher things.

“If life always went well, would we not become so attached to our present state, even though we know it will not last, and by deception become enslaved to pleasure? In the end we would think that our present life is the best and noblest, and forget that, being made in the image of God, we are destined for higher things.”

-St. Maximus the Confessor, On The Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ

“Maximus the Confessor (580–662) lived, historically and to some extent geographically, betwixt and between. Historically, he lived in the indefinite transition between ‘early’ and ‘medieval’ Christianity: after the downfall of the Western Roman Empire and the zenith of the Byzantine Christian Empire under Justinian, but before the schism of Byzantine and Roman Churches had reached the point of no return; after the crucial Councils of Nicea (325), Constantinople (381), and Chalcedon (451), but before the age of the Ecumenical Councils had ended; after the most creative epoch in patristic thought, stretching from Origen to the Cappadocian Fathers and Augustine, but before the tendency toward theological scholasticism East or West had fully gained momentum.”

-Fr. John Behr, Editor of On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ

I very much enjoyed this video interview with a St. Maximus scholar, Fr. Maximos Constas: “The Relevance of St. Maximus Today.” And you can read more about St. Maximus HERE. Today we commemorate the translation of his relics, and sing this hymn:

Champion of Orthodoxy, teacher of purity and of true worship,
enlightener of the universe and adornment of hierarchs:
All-wise father Maximus, your teachings have gleamed with light upon all things.
Intercede before Christ God to save our souls.