Author: Elder Aimilianos of Simonopetra, Archimandrite Maximos (Constas) (trans.)
This book contains six talks by Elder Aimilianos of Simonopetra (Mt Athos), focusing on select passages from the Chapters on Love by St Maximos the Confessor. More than a simple commentary, these talks offer a profound yet approachable introduction to the principles and practice of Orthodox spirituality.
From Chapter One:
We often say that we love God, and sing the praises of His love, but we are not able to pray without distractions. If this is the case, it means we are not speaking truthfully, that our praises are empty, because genuine love for God is the generative cause of undistracted prayer, and undistracted prayer is the generative cause of the love of God.
Would you like to have a practical standard of measurement to see if you love God? Pay attention and observe whether or not you pray without distractions. See, in other words, if when you pray your mind is distracted and cut into pieces by desires, thoughts, passions, or by any other foreign element that is not spiritual or immaterial. If there is something that is able to divide our mind and cut it into pieces, this means that we do not love God, for the love of God is like a strong, surrounding wall that protects us and prevents anything from outside entering our inner, spiritual world. Otherwise it’s like I have a saw and I use it to cut up a piece of wood, and in so doing the pieces fly in different directions—something similar happens to the mind when it is torn to pieces by thoughts and passions, by the various inclinations of the heart, by desires, and anything else like this.