October 28

The soul has need of a divine lamp, even of the Holy Ghost, who sets in order the darkened house. It needs the bright Sun of righteousness, which enlightens and rises upon the heart, as an instrument to win the battle. That woman who lost the piece of silver, first lighted the lamp, and then set the house in order, and thus, the house being set in order and the lamp lit, the piece of silver was found, buried in dirt and filth and earth.

So now the soul cannot of itself find its own thoughts and disengage them; but when the divine lamp is lit, it lights up the darkened house, and then the soul beholds its thoughts how they lie buried in the filth and mire of sin.

~St Makarios of Egypt

June 16

We must force ourselves even against our will towards virtue, towards love when we lack love, towards gentleness when we have need of it, towards sympathy of heart and compassion, towards patience in the face of insult and contempt, and steadfastness in the face of mockery, if we have not yet acquired the habit of these things, and towards prayer if we still have not attained spiritual prayer.

If God sees us struggling in this way and forcibly dragging ourselves towards the good even when our heart seems to oppose it, He will bestow true prayer on us, will give us compassion, patience, forbearance, and in general will fill us with all the fruits of the Spirit.

~St Makarios of Egypt

June 15

Would you think it right if this perishable glory, ephemeral kingdom and other such temporal things were gained only after great toil and sweat by those who hanker after them, while to reign endlessly with Christ and to enjoy inexpressible blessings was something to be gained cheaply and easily, and could be attained without labor and effort by anyone who wished?

What is the purpose of Christ’s advent? The restoration and reintegration of human nature in Him. For He restored to human nature the original dignity of Adam, and in addition bestowed on it the unutterable grace of the heavenly inheritance of the Holy Spirit. Leading it out of the prison of darkness, He showed it the way and the door to life.

By traversing this way and knocking on this door we can enter the kingdom of heaven. As He said: “Ask and it will be given to you…knock and it will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7). By passing through this door it is possible for everyone to attain the freedom of his soul, to cut off his evil thoughts, and to become Christ’s bride and consort through the communion of the Holy Spirit. Such is the ineffable love of the Lord towards man, whom he has created in His own image.

~St Makarios of Egypt

June 14

The devil tries to disrupt our hope in Christ and our love for Him in a thousand ways. Inwardly he brings afflictions on the soul by means of the evil spirits, or he fills it with foul and immoral thoughts by stirring up its memory of former sins, so as to make it grow sluggish and to despair of ever attaining salvation.

His aim is to cheat the soul into thinking that it generates these thoughts of its own accord and that they are not sown in it maliciously by an alien spirit. Or else he inflicts bodily suffering and brings on us vilification and tribulation through the agency of other people. But the more he shoots his fiery arrows at us, the more we must enkindle our hope in God, knowing with certainty that He deliberately permits souls that long for Him to suffer these things, so as to discover if they truly love Him.

~St Makarios of Egypt

June 13

When God in His love condemned Adam to death after his transgression, he first experienced this death in his soul (Genesis 3:19): his spiritual and deathless organs of perception, deprived of their celestial and spiritual enjoyment, were quenched and became as though dead. Later, after 930 years (Genesis 5:5), came the death of the body.

Similarly, now that God has reconciled mankind through the Cross and death of the Savior, He restores to the truly believing soul its enjoyment of spiritual light and mystery while it is still in the flesh, and once more enlightens its spiritual organs of perception with the divine light of grace. Later he will invest the body also with deathless and incorruptible glory.

~St Makarios of Egypt






June 12

The abode and resting place of the Holy Spirit is humility, love, gentleness and the other holy commandments of Christ. If, therefore, a person desires to grow and to attain perfection by acquiring all these virtues, he must initially force himself to acquire and must establish himself in the first–that is to say, in prayer–wrestling and striving with his heart to make it receptive and obedient to god.

~St Makarios of Egypt

June 11

If we want to endure every affliction and trial readily, let us long to die for Christ and let us keep this death continually before our eyes. For we have been commanded to take up the cross and to follow Him (Matthew 16:24); and this means that we must be prepared and ready for death.

If we have this disposition we will endure every affliction, visible and invisible, much more easily. How can he who is anxious to die for Christ’s sake have any difficulty in putting up with suffering and distress? Yet we think afflictions are hard to bear, for we do not keep death for Christ’s sake before us or rivet our mind always on Christ.

But if we want to share His inheritance we must be willing to share His sufferings with an equal zeal. Those who love the Lord may be recognized by the fact that because of their hope in Him they bear every affliction that comes, not simply courageously but also wholeheartedly.

~St Makarios of Egypt

June 10

The devout soul, even if it practices all the virtues, ascribes everything to God and nothing to itself. God, on the other hand, when He sees its sound and healthy understanding and knowledge, attributes everything to the soul, and rewards it as though it had achieved everything through its own efforts. He does this in spite of the fact that, if He were to bring us to judgment, no true righteousness would be found in us.

For…all belong to God. Man’s body and soul, and even his very being, are his only by grace. What, then, is left to him that he can call his own, by virtue of which he can pride himself or vindicate himself?

~St Makarios of Egypt

June 9

Just as the power of evil works by persuasion, not by compulsion, so does divine grace. In this way our liberty and free will are preserved. If a man commits sins when he is subject to the devil, he himself pays the penalty, not the devil, since he was impelled to evil not by force but by his own will. It is the same where a good action is concerned: grace does not ascribe this action to itself but to the man, giving him the credit for it, since he is the cause of the goodness that befalls him.

Grace does not make a man incapable of sin by forcibly and compulsorily laying hold of his will but, though present, allows him freedom of choice, so as to make it clear whether the man’s own will inclines to virtue or to evil. For the law looks not to man’s nature but to his free power of choice, which is capable of turning towards either good or evil.

~St Makarios of Egypt

June 8

When you hear that Christ had descended into hell in order to deliver the souls dwelling there, do not think that what happens now is very different. The heart is a tomb and there our thoughts and our intellect are buried, imprisoned in heavy darkness. And so Christ comes to the souls in hell that call upon Him, descending, that is to say, into the depths of the heart; and there He commands death to release the imprisoned souls that call upon Him, for He has power to deliver us. Then, lifting up the heavy stone that oppresses the soul, and opening the tomb, He resurrects us–for we were truly dead–and releases our imprisoned soul from its lightless prison.

~St Makarios of Egypt