Orthodox Saints & Patristic Church Fathers (207)
If the love of God dwells within you, it is necessary that such love bring forth other fruit, such as fraternal love, meekness, sincerity, perseverance in prayer, and zeal and all virtues. But since the treasure is precious, so also great are the labors, necessary to obtain it.
St. Marcarius, from the Great Letter
These two writings of St. Marcarius of the 4th Century bring to the West a holistic, heart spirituality that offers a necessary remedy to the head so-called spirituality that has infected the West.
George A. Maloney, provides a great service by bringing to the public the first modern English translation of the Fifty Spiritual Homilies and The Great Letter of Macarius, a Syrian monk of the fourth century whose identity is still the subject of scholarly investigation.
The Fifty Spiritual Homilies, in the form of a practical, monastic pedagogy, reveal the typical traits of Eastern Christian asceticism, with particular emphasis on the spiritual combat, the action of the Holy Spirit, and the importance of interior prayer. The Great Letter discusses the purging of the passions to bring the Christian into a state of tranquility and integration, and addresses the monastic community with instructions regarding organization, humility, and prayer.
The perfect mind is the one that through genuine faith knows in supreme ignorance the supremely unknowable, and in gazing on the universe of his handiwork has received from God comprehensive knowledge of his Providence and judgment in it, as far as allowable to men.
St. Maximus the Confessor
Maximus is called the Confessor because of his sufferings and labors for the true faith. During the seventh century when the monothelite heresy (belief that Christ had only one will-a divine one) plagued the Church, Maximus eloquently demonstrated that Christ had both human and divine natures. This is a translation of four spiritual treatises of Maximus the Confessor plus an account of his trial. It includes The Four Hundred Chapters of Love, Commentary on the Lord`s Prayer, Chapters on Knowledge, The Church`s Mystagogy (explains the symbolism of various parts of the Liturgy), and The Trial of Maximus.
MY LIFE IN CHRIST: MOMENTS OF SPIRITUAL SERENITY AND CONTEMPLATION, OF REVERENT FEELING, OF EARNEST SELF-AMENDMENT, AND OF PEACE IN GOD
“It shines on us without evening, without change, without alteration, without form. It speaks, works, lives, gives life and changes into light those whom it illuminates. We bear witness that ‘God is light,’ and those to whom it has been granted to see Him have all beheld Him as light. Those who have received Him as light, do so because the light of His glory goes before Him, and it is impossible for Him to appear without light. Those who have not seen His light have not seen Him, for He is the light, and those who have not received the light have not yet received grace. Those who have received grace have received the light of God and have received God, even as Christ Himself, who is the light, has said, ‘I will live in them and move among them.’”
—St. Symeon the New Theologian
Father George Maloney in his Introduction to this volume focuses directly on the special importance of St. Symeon and on how similar the religious situation of his era is to our own. “Concretely, the battle of two opposing views of theology centered around St. Symeon and his mystical apophatic approach of the experiencing of God immanently present to the individual, as opposed to the ‘head trip’ scholastic theology as represented by Archbishop Stephen of Nicomedia, the official theologian at the court of Constantinople. Stephen represented the abstract, philosophical type of theologizing while Symeon strove to restore theology to its pristine mystical tendency as a wisdom infused by the Holy Spirit into the Christian after he had been thoroughly purified through a rigorous asceticism and a state of constant repentance.”
This great spiritual master of Eastern Christianity was an abbot, spiritual director of renown, theologian and important church reformer. These Discourses which form the central work of his life were preached by St. Symeon to his monks during their morning Matins ritual. They treat such basic spiritual themes as repentance, detachment, renunciation, the works of charity, impassiblity, remembrance of death, sorrow for sins, the practice of God`s commandments, mystical union with the indwelling Trinity, faith and contemplation.