Disturbing the Predator

MaximosConfessorThe Fathers of the Church are often recognized for being excellent observers of human behavior, and consequently very effectively describe psychological behavior that we sometimes think has only been recognized or diagnosed in the modern age.   For example, St Maximos the Confessor (d. 662AD), offers the description of what he labels a hypocrite.   The explosion of anger by someone when confronted with the evilness of their behavior which St. Maximos describes below is today considered symptomatic of predatory behavior.  When the predator is exposed, he goes on the attack hoping to intimidate the prey back into some more submissive behavior.

“A hypocrite, hunting after the glory that comes from an apparent righteousness, is untroubled so long as he thinks that he escapes notice. But when he is detected, he utters streams of imprecation, imagining that by abusing others he can hide his own deformity. Because of his craftiness Scripture has compared him to the offspring of vipers and has commanded him to bring forth appropriate fruits of repentance (cf. Matt. 3:7-8), that is, to refashion the hidden state of his heart so that it conforms to his outward behavior.”    (The Philokalia, Kindle Loc 14090-106)