… the holy Church is like a man because for the soul it has the sanctuary, for mind it has the divine altar, and for body it has the nave. It is thus the image and likeness of God.  By means of the nave, representing the body, it proposes moral wisdom, while by means of the sanctuary, representing the soul, it spiritually interprets natural contemplation, and by means of the mind of the divine altar it manifests mystical theology. Conversely, man is a mystical church, because through the nave which is his body he brightens by virtue the ascetic force of the soul by the observance of the commandments in moral wisdom. Through  the sanctuary of his soul he conveys to God in natural contemplation through reason the principles of sense purely in spirit cut off from matter. Finally, through the altar of the mind he summons the silence abounding in song in the innermost recesses of the unseen and unknown utterance of divinity by another silence, rich in speech and tone. And as far as man is capable, he dwells familiarly within mystical theology and becomes such as is fitting for one made worthy of his indwelling and he is marked with his dazzling splendor.

Saint Maximus the Confessor, The Church’s Mystagogy, 4, in Maximus Confessor: Selected Writings (Classics of Western Spirituality)(SPCK / Paulist, 1985), 189-190.

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