Thank you again to all who responded to my question, both at the end of last week and over the weekend. I’m giving myself one more day to ponder things. I’m hoping to respond to comments over the next couple of days. It’s been fall break here, and we’ve got a sick kid at home right now.

I was reading last night the commentary on the Lord’s Prayer of St. Maximos the Confessor (English translation in Palmer, Sherrard and Ware, The Philokalia, volume 2, pp. 285-305). I’m interested in interpretations of the clause in the prayer about forgiveness. Maximos interestingly links forgiveness with the unity of human nature and the unity of the human will. He says:

… just as God dispassionately forgives His creatures, so such a person [who prays for ‘the incorruptible bread of wisdom’] must himself remain dispassionate in the face of what happens to him and forgive those who offend him. He must not allow the memory of things that afflict him to be stamped on his intellect lest he inwardly sunders human nature by separating himself from some other man, although he is a man himself. When a man’s will is in union with the principle of nature in this way, God and nature are naturally reconciled; but, failing such a union, our nature remains self-divided in its will and cannot receive God’s gift of Himself. (Palmer, et. al., The Philokalia, p. 301).

Note how Maximos speaks of coming to forgive someone as a kind of return to one’s true nature. There are also links here with Maximos’s Christological teaching, for which he suffered a great deal.

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