Fall 2002

Human Freedom as the Pivot of the Providential Economy

Maximus the Confessor

Concerning the words “‘Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me.’”

If you say that the words “‘Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me,’” which appear to express a shrinking back, are spoken by man—“not by man understood as of the Savior’s sort (for his will, having been wholly divinized, was not contrary to God in any way), but by the man of our sort, inasmuch as the human will does not altogether follow God, but, for the most part, resists and struggles against him,” to cite the divine Gregory [Nazianzen]—what, then, do you make of the rest of the prayer, in other words, “‘not what I will, but your will be confirmed’”? Is that an expression of shrinking back or of courage? Of the most perfect convergence or of divergence? But no one possessed of intelligence will gainsay that it expresses neither resistance nor cowardice, but rather complete coalescence and convergence.


To read this article in its entirety, please download the free PDF available above or buy this issue.