Monday, December 9, 2013
Divine fire ( St Makarios the Great )
1. As many lights and burning lamps are kindled by the fire, but all the lamps and lights are lighted up from one nature. Thus Christians also are lighted up from one nature, and shine, from the Divine fire, the Son of God; and have these lamps flaming in their hearts, and shine before him while on earth, even as he himself.
2. Christians therefore are lights that have the oil in themselves, that is, " the fruits of righteousness." But if they are not lighted up from the light of the Godhead in themselves, they are nothing. The Lord was a burning light through the Spirit of the. Godhead abiding substantially in him, and inflaming his heart according to his human part.
3. For as a rotten bag that is filled with pearls, so are Christians also, who being outwardly despicable, have in the " inward man the pearl of great price." But others are like whited sepulchres, without indeed they are beautiful; but within are full of dead mens' bones. They are dead before GOD, and clothed with all manner of shame and filth, and the darkness of the enemy.
4. The Christian ought at all times to be mindful of God. For it is written, " You shall love the Lord thy GOD with all thy heart;" that he may not only love the Lord, when he goes into his oratory, but that even when walking, and in company, and when eating, he may retain the memory of GOD, and a natural affection for him. Indeed to what thing soever the heart of any one is linked, that is his god. If the heart at all times desires GOD, he is the Lord of the heart.
But if any one that has outwardly renounced all, and is stript of his possessions, yet is wedded to himself, or to worldly desires; wheresoever his heart is chained, that is his god. And he is found to have come out of the world indeed through the broad gate, but through a wicket to have gone in again.
5. But if a man at all times cleave fast unto the Lord, and places his confidence and hope upon him; then none can hurt him: for though the devils are strong as the strong mountains, they are burnt by prayer, as wax by fire.. Yet in the mean time great is the struggle and fight that lies upon the soul against them. There are the rivers of dragons, and the mouths of lions. But the fire of love burneth up all.
6. As a man that is a complete worker of evil, is insatiable after mischief; so Christians that have been baptized into the Holy Spirit, are insatiable after God. Yet while they have a mixture of sin, they are liable to fear, and travel through frightful places.
7. For as merchants, though they have now a fair wind, and a smooth sea, are in fear, lest on a sudden there should be a contrary wind, and the sea grow tempestuous: so Christians, though they have in themselves the favorable wind of the Spirit blowing, yet are in concern, lest the wind of the adverse power should rise upon them, and stir up a tempest in their souls.
There is need therefore of great industry, that we may come to the haven of rest, to the perfect world, to eternal life and pleasure, to the " city of the saints, to the heavenly Jerusalem, to the church of the first-born." 8. Nor ought we to be secure. For as a garden that is set with fruit-trees, and sweet-smelling plants, and all well laid out and contrived with beauty, and has withal a little wall for an hedge, to keep it; if -it should so fall out that a rapid river runs by it, and by little and little dissolves the foundation, having once gained entrance, it roots up all that was planted. Even thus is the heart of man; it has good thoughts and desires, but there are rivers of corruption ever approaching. And if the mind but a little give way to unclean thoughts; lo, the spirits of error have entered in, and overturned all the beauties that were there, and laid the soul waste.
9. As the eye is little beyond all the members, and yet contains the heaven, the stars, the sun, the moon, cities, and other creatures; for all these are seen under one, are formed and imagined in the pupil of the eye. Thus also the heart is a little vessel. And yet there are dragons, and there are lions, the poisonous beasts, and all the treasures of wickedness, and there are rugged ways, and precipices. In like manner there is GOD, there are the angels; there is the life and the kingdom; there is the light, there are the treasures of grace: there are all things.
1O. And yet many find them not. For as when the alarm of war is sounding, the wise-men, and the great ones were not there; but the poor, and the unlearned are sent forth; and they work a victory over their enemies, and receive from the king the rewards of their victory, and crowns, and dignities. Thus also is it in heavenly things. It is the poor and unlearned from the beginning, that love the truth, do what it requires, fight the good fight, and receive from GOD the grace of his Spirit. But the wise and great flee the war; neither do they make any progress, and consequently are left behind them who have fought and overcome. And the Lord has promised, a Where I am, there also shall these my servants be." And they shall reign together with the Father, and with the Son, and with the Holy Spirit, even to ages of ages? Amen.
From ,St Macarius the Great Spiritual Homilies