For it was on the highest attributes accessible by man concerning God, namely His goodness and love, that [the saints] rightly concentrated their vision, and it was from these that they learned that God was moved to give being to all the things that exist, and to grant them the grace of well-being…And it was with a view to these that the saints wisely modeled themselves, and owing to their expert imitation they now bear the distinguishing characteristic— manifest through the virtues — of the hidden and invisible beauty of the divine magnificence. Thus they themselves became good, and lovers of both God and their fellow men, full of compassion and mercy, and were proved to possess one single disposition of love for the whole of mankind…
“It is one thing to be delivered from bad thoughts, and another to be freed from the passions. Often people are delivered from thoughts, when they do not have before their eyes those things which produce passion. But the passions for them remain hidden in the soul, and when the things appear again the passions are revealed. Therefore it is necessary to guard the mind when these things appear, and to know toward which things you have a passion.”
St Maximus the Confessor
“When God, who is absolute fullness, brought creatures into existence, it was not done to fulfill any need but so that his creatures should be happy to share his likeness, and so that he himself might rejoice in the joy of his creatures as they draw inexhaustibly upon the Inexhaustible.”— St. Maximus the Confessor
The outcome of every affliction endured for the sake of virtue is joy, of every labor rest, and of every shameful treatment glory; in short, the outcome of all sufferings for the sake of virtue is to be with God, to remain with Him forever and to enjoy eternal rest.
“God created all things with his limitless power, brought them into being, holds them there and gathers them together and sets boundaries to them; in his providence, he links them all - intellectual beings as well as sensible - to each other as he does to himself. In his might, God draws up all the things that are naturally distinct from each other and binds them to himself as their cause, their origin and goal; and through the power of this relationship to him as source, he lets them also be drawn toward each other…No being can permanently isolate itself through its own particularity or through the drive of its nature toward some other end; rather, everything remains, in its very being, bound without confusion to everything else, through the single, enduring relationship of all to their one and only source.” - St Maximus the Confessor
“One must also in the name of truth be bold enough to affirm that the Cause of all things, through the beauty, goodness and profusion of His intense love for everything, goes out of Himself in His providential care for the whole of creation. By means of the supra-essential power of ecstasy, and spell-bound as it were by goodness, love and longing, He relinquishes His utter transcendence in order to dwell in all things while yet remaining within Himself.” - St Maximus the Confessor
“Man is not a being isolated from the rest of creation; by his very nature he is bound up with the whole of the universe… In his way to union with God, man in no way leaves creatures aside, but gathers together in his love the whole cosmos disordered by sin, that it may be transfigured by grace”
But I say to you,” the Lord says, “love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, pray for those who persecute you.” Why did he command these things? So that he might free you from hatred, sadness, anger and grudges, and might grant you the greatest possession of all, perfect love, which is impossible to possess except by the one who loves all equally in imitation of God.