And with animals, if we approach them in a rational way we shall find a trace of the intelligible in them which is a not unworthy imitation of what is above reason. For if we look at those beings that naturally care for their offspring, we are encouraged to define for ourselves reverently and with godly boldness that God exercises providence in his sovereign uniqueness over all beings.
Ambiguum 10, 1189B-C; trans. Andrew Louth, Maximus the Confessor (Routledge, 1996) pp. 144-145.
In Maximus all the streams of the Greek patristic tradition flow together in synthesis. At the same time, with real originality, there is much from within that tradition that he takes to a higher level. But the course of this saint's life impressed me even more than his teaching. Once again, like Athanasius, one man was able to defend orthodox Christology against a whole empire. A Byzantine joins forces with Pope St. Martin I in Rome and finally suffers martyrdom for the true faith. This is the summit of that unity of doctrine and life which marks the whole patristic age; speculation and mysticism of the greatest subtlety are wedded to a soberly and consciously grasped martyrdom. In St. Maximus we can see in the Catholica what Kierkegaard found within the individual.
[For Maximus], through accomplishing all the stages of the spiritual life, the human person achieves, not simply union with God, but also fulfils what is the essentially human role of being the natural bond of all being, drawing the whole created order into harmony with itself, and into union with God.
Andrew Louth, Maximus the Confessor (Routledge, 1996), p. 73.