“Love is a holy state of the soul, disposing it to value knowledge of God above all created things. We cannot attain lasting possession of such love while we are still attached to anything worldly.” St. Maximos the Confessor, Philokalia, Vol. 2, pg. 53.
All those little things I need to let go of are cliffs I’m unwilling to step off of. I have trouble letting go of praise for an idea, cooking a good meal, or conversation. Only as I began to realize that it wasn’t others praise I’m supposed to be avoiding did I began seeing the brinks of my cliffs. My real brawl is with myself. My goal in other’s praise has always been to fill a void; an abyss too vast for all the praise I could every garner.
Maximos the Confessor isn’t telling us that other’s praise is worthless. Rather, he is in our face, telling us stop storing those in our voids. Well practiced, as I am, in hunting down others praise and dimwittedly acting like I was loving and being loved showed too well my wanting the thing rather than the person. Now, I have a, day-by-day, struggle with sticking a toe off the edges of my cliffs. Eventually, I plan on truly stepping off and onto what I cannot see. Unlearing my wanting the things God gives and allowing the One who gives those things to fill my void is, perhaps, the deepest challenge of my life.