Theosis in Mercy

by Scott D. Hendricks

Now nothing is either so fitting for justification or so apt for divinization, if I can speak thus, and nearness to God as mercy offered with pleasure and joy from the soul to those who stand in need. For if the Word has shown that the one who is in need of having good done to him is God–for as long, he tells us, as you did it for one of these least ones, you did it for me–on God’s very word, then he will much more show that the one who can do good and who does it is truly God by grace and participation because he has taken on in happy imitation the energy and characteristic of his own doing good. And if the poor man is God, it is because of God’s condescension in becoming poor for us and in taking upon himself by his own suffering the sufferings of each one and “until the end of time,” always suffering mystically out of goodness in proportion to each one’s suffering. All the more reason, then, will that one be God who by loving men in imitation of God heals by himself in divine fashion the hurts of those who suffer and who shows that he has in his disposition, safeguarding all proportion, the same power of saving Providence that God has.

~ St. Maximus the Confessor

George C. Berthold, trans., Maximus Confessor: selected writings (Mahwah: Paulist Press, 1985), 211-212.