Orthodox Patristic & Church Fathers Works & Writings (94)
If you wish to achieve true knowledge of scripture you must hurry to achieve unshakable humility of heart. This is what will lead you not to the knowledge that puffs a man up but to the lore which illumines through the achievement of love.
At the turn of the sixth century the Mediterranean world was witnessing the decline of Roman rule that had formed the bedrock of its civil order. During the chaos of those years, there arose in the deserts of Egypt and Syria monastic movements that offered men and women a radical God-centered alternative to the present society. Among the most eloquent interpreters of this new movement to western Europe was John Cassian (c.365 - c.435). Drawing on his own early experience as a monk in Bethlehem and Egypt, he journeyed to the West to found monasteries in Marseilles and the region of Provence.
The Conferences, is a study of the Egyptian ideal of the monk.
—Gregory of Nyssa
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.