Instructions of Blessed Macarius the Great

Saint Macarius lived in Egypt during the years 301-391. As a youth he tended to flocks of sheep and lived in seclusion. Isolation. At 30 years of age, he withdrew to a distant desert. For his meekness and humility he was ordained as a presbyter. He left behind him works of a moral character that contained important meaning for both the monastics and for all Christians. The contents of his instructions are: The bright condition of the first person at the beginning and the gloomy state after the sinful fall. Our only salvation — is the Lord Jesus Christ. The firm determination to follow Christ. Continuous self-improvement. The state of those who have received the grace of the Holy Spirit. The possibility of achieving Christian completeness on earth. Future conditions after death and resurrection.

Communion with God,

Striving toward righteousness,

Spiritual zealousness, steadfastness

 Just as God created heaven and earth for man to inhabit, so did He create Man so that He may reside as in His house in the human body, having a soul created in His image as His magnificent bride. That is why the Apostle Paul states: " but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are…" (Hebrews 3:6).

 Just as a bee builds its honeycomb in its hive, unnoticed by people, so does benevolence secretly build its love in the heart of a person, changing bitterness to sweetness and a cruel heart — to a kind one. Just like a master silversmith, in making cuttings in a plate and slowly covering it with patterns, does not show his work in all its beauty until he had finished it.

Whoever strives towards God and really wants to become Christ’s follower must follow Him, endeavoring to improve himself and become a new person, not retaining anything within oneself that is peculiar to the ancient person — for it is said:" if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation."

If a soul genuinely loves God and because of its insatiable aspirations toward God, although it may have performed thousands of good deeds, it considers itself as having done nothing. Although it has exhausted its body through fasting and labors, it thinks that it has not yet commenced to acquire virtues; even though it is worthy by having acquired various spiritual gifts, either revelation or the Heavenly Mysteries, because of its great love for God, it considers having obtained nothing….

It is inflicted with love for the Heavenly Spirit. With the help of God’s blessing, it continually stimulates within itself a fervent aspiration toward the Heavenly Bridegroom; wishing to fully achieve the mysterious and indescribable communion with Him in the holiness of the Spirit; it looks upon the Heavenly Bridegroom — face to face — with purified spiritual eyes; enters into union with Him in a spiritual and indelible light, in accordance with His death, continually expecting death for Christ with great anticipation; certain in its faith that through the Spirit it will receive complete deliverance from sins and dark desires, so that having been cleansed by the Spirit, enlightened spiritually and physically, become worthy as a pure receptacle for accepting into itself the heavenly world and as a dwelling for the heavenly and true King Christ. Only then it becomes worthy of a heavenly life, having become a pure dwelling for the Holy Spirit here on earth.

There are very few people that have combined a righteous beginning with a righteous end. Rejecting everything without stumbling, they reached their aim in loving the one God. Initially, many enter a state of magnanimity; many become worthy of heavenly grace and become inspirited with heavenly love.

Just as a person conceived in a mother’s womb does not take on human form immediately but gradually, and is not born as an adult but grows and develops over a period of many years, until he reaches maturity….and just as the seeds of barley or wheat do not send out roots as soon as they are planted but after a period of cold and winds, and after a given period of time, sprout shoots….so it happens with spiritual life, where so much wisdom and experience is demanded — a person grows gradually until he reaches completeness, taking on the likeness of Christ (Eph. 4:13).

 A person by nature is inconstant. That is why, just as a person who fell into the depths of iniquity and is enslaved by sin can turn toward good, so is that person who is sealed with the Holy Spirit and filled with heavenly gifts free to return to evil. Some, having savored God’s grace and becoming communicants of the Holy Spirit, lose their alertness and vigilance, and spiritually extinguished, become worse than what they were formerly. This happens not because God changes or that the grace of the Holy Spirit wanes, but because the persons themselves lose that grace, deviate and fall into a multitude of sins.

Source: http://www.orthodoxphotos.com/readings/instructions1/communion.shtml

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