Maximus was a Constantinopolian by birth and, at first, a high-ranking courtier at the court of Emperor Heraclius and, after that, a monk and abbot of a monastery not too far from the capitol. He was the greatest defender of Orthodoxy against the so-called Monothelite heresy which proceeded from the heresy of Eutyches. That is to say: As Eutyches claimed that there is only one nature in Christ [Monophysitism], so the Monothelites claimed that there is only one will in Christ [Monothelitism]. Maximus opposed that claim and found himself as an opponent of the emperor and the patriarch. Maximus did not frighten easily but endured to the end in proving that there were two wills as well as two natures in Christ. Because of his efforts, a council was held in Carthage and another in Rome. Both councils anathematized the teachings of the Monothelites. The suffering of Maximus for Orthodoxy cannot be described: he was tortured by princes, deceived by prelates, spat upon by the masses of the people, beaten by soldiers, exiled, imprisoned, until finally, with a severed tongue and hand, he was condemned to exile for life in the land of Skhemaris [near Batum on the Black Sea] where he spent three years in prison and gave up his soul to God in the year 662 A.D. (Taken from the Prologue of Ohrid)
Today I wish to share one of my favorite excerpts. I tried finding a prayer or two which Maximus had written, but that search ended in vain. If you happen to know of a prayer or two which he wrote, please post it in the comments. I hope this passage gives you hope:
Through the abundant grace of the Spirit it will be shown that God alone is at work, and in all things there will be only one activity, that of God and of those worthy of kinship with God. God will be all in all wholly penetrating all who are his in a way that is appropriate to each.
It is absolutely necessary that everything will cease its willful movement toward something else when the ultimate beauty that satisfies our desires appears. In so far as we are able we will participate without being restricted, as it were, being uncontainably contained. All our actions and every sublime thought will tend eagerly towards that end “in which all desire comes to rest and beyond which they cannot be carried. For there is no other end towards which all free movement is directed than the rest found in total contemplation by those who have reached that point,” as our blessed teacher says (Gregory Nazianzen, Oration 21.1). For nothing besides God will be known, nor will there be anything opposed to God that could entice one to desire it. Instead, when God’s ineffable majesty is made known, all intellectual and sensible things will be encompassed by him. It is like the light from the stars. The stars do not shine in the day. When the greater and incomparable light of the sun appears, they are hidden and cannot be seen by the senses. With respect to God this is even more so, for God is infinite, and uncreated things cannot be compared to created things (Maximus, On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ: Selected Writings, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2003).