March 2012 - Vol. 58
Let us be wholly absorbed by grace

by Macarius-Symeon (Pseudo-Macarius) (300-391 AD)

Inside us evil is at work suggesting unworthy inclinations. However, it is not in us in the same way as, to take an example, water mixes with wine. Evil is in us without being mixed with good.

We are a field in which wheat and weeds are growing separately. We are a house in which there is a thief, but also the owner. We are a spring which rises from the middle of the mud, but pours out pure water.

All the same, it is enough to stir up the mud and the spring is fouled. It is the same with the soul.  If the evil is spread, it forms a unity with the soul and makes it dirty. With our consent, evil is united with the soul; they become accomplices.

Yet there comes a moment when the soul can free itself and remain separate again: in repentance, contrition, prayer, recourse to God. The soul could not benefit from these habits if it were always sunk in evil.

It is like marriage. A woman is united with a man and they become one flesh. But when one of them dies, the other is left alone.

But union with the Holy Spirit is complete. So let us become a single spirit with him. Let us be wholly absorbed by grace.

[Marcarius-Symeon, often called Pseudo-Marcarius in the West, is the author of numerous ascetical writings dating to the second half of the 4th century. These were handed down under the name Macarius of Egypt (an Egyptian monk who was renowned for his sanctity and miracles), and also under the name Symeon of Mesopotamia.]

> See related article Purification of Spirit by Leo the Great
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