If we are not able to appreciate others, we can still admire them. Orthodox saints have a message for those who are indifferent to the world. Jesus Christ draws close to those who turn their backs on him, begging them not to scorn his love. He even becomes an advocate for those who reject him.
St. Maximus the Confessor
Orthodox saints often quote a single word, but in St. Maximus’s case, he uses two words, the “soul” and “nature.” The word “nature” is a metaphor for the human soul, and it suggests that the soul is a part of the whole person. He also explains that the soul is the sum of all the elements of creation. This means that, in general, human nature resembles the Divine.
The Church can learn a great deal from St. Maximus’s writings, and his theological system is well-known. Although he dwells on particular events, his writings are not incidental. They have been forged in the mystical silence of inspired experience.
In the context of the Trinity, St. Maximus follows St. Gregory of Nyssa in the belief that sinful birth leads to decay. As a consequence, sinfiilness accumulates in the world. Hence, he defines “birth” as “gennesis”, which is a synonym for original sin. He also views “sin” as a quality that cannot be eliminated, as it is a result of passion.
While St. Maximus’ dogmatic works deal with the issue of indifference in general, he also addresses issues concerning the doctrine of two natures. He is a good example of a saint who has the courage to be different. His willingness to challenge and criticize is admirable, and he has earned the respect of his brethren in the Church.
In the Christian context, this is especially important. For example, he has spoken about the need for the soul to be free from images and matter. He has said that love is the soul’s disposition toward God. Only those who have chosen the path of sanctification can love others. The most profound love is referred to as Divine Eros, which is the highest stage of human love.
In St. Maximus’ theology, he has described Christ’s redeeming work in moral and ontological terms. Love is the moving force behind salvation. He has exhibited His Love on the Cross, and this love will be fulfilled in the Second Coming. Consequently, the Gospel is the “spiritual” crowning of Logos in the world and in Scripture.
St. John Chrysostom
In his writings, St. John Chrysostom makes clear that he is opposed to indifference. He believed that “the way is Christ.” Therefore, he condemns indifference and compromise. Instead, he advocates a unified Christian faith.
Indifference is an indication of poor worship. For example, John says that a person should honor the altar in the church, which holds the body of Christ. He believes that Christians who neglect their brethren will be punished more severely. It is impossible to worship God without serving others.
Chrysostom was also concerned about the plight of the poor. He founded orphanages and hospitals. He wished for Christians to become more active in their communities. He felt that the poor were suffering and he wanted them to be happy.
Chrysostom was a deeply ethical thinker. He had a vision for a just society, and believed that equality was the first claim of genuine love. He also believed that the world had only one master, and that everything belonged to the common master.
Chrysostom was a prominent Christian preacher and bishop in the fourth and fifth centuries. His eloquence in public speaking was legendary, and he denounced abuse of authority in the Church. He also preached the Gospel of Salvation, the good tidings of new life and Christ crucified.