Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Catholic Hermit: Thoughts of Pseudo-Macarius on Love of God and Temporal Detachment

From the fifth sermon of Pseudo-Macarius:

"For whatever passion a person does not manfully fight against, that is an object of his love.  Such an attachment dominates and holds him down.  It becomes for him an impediment and a chain that prevents him from directing his mind to God and from pleasing him.  In no way can he serve God alone and obtain the kingdom and reach eternal life.

"The soul that truly tends toward the Lord completely forces itself to a total love of him.  It is held fast in a willed dedication, as far as is possible, to God alone.  From him it attains the help of grace. Such a person denies himself and does not obey the will of his mind, because he knows that the mind tends to deal with us in a deceitful way, seducing us to evil.  He yields himself perfectly to the Word of the Lord and frees himself from every visible bond as far as he can will it.  He surrenders completely to the Lord and thus will be able to undergo successfully struggles, labors, and setbacks. Wherever there is a question of affection, there is either a help or an obstacle.  If someone loves something of the world, this becomes for him a burden and a bondage dragging him downward and not allowing him to rise upward to God.

"If, however, he loves the Lord and loves his commandments, this becomes his help.  He is strengthened by this.  His observance of all the Lord's precepts becomes easy for him and tilts him toward the good, or rather, it makes lighter and easier every battle and affliction.  Through divine power he cuts through the world and through the powers of evil which lay snares for the human soul in the world and which use all sorts of desires as nets to ensnare the soul in the depths of the world.  In such a way he is freed from such snares by means of his own faith and great courage and through heavenly aid.  He is accounted worthy of the eternal kingdom which was the goal of his desiring.  He receives from the Lord help and he will not lose eternal life."

And then Pseudo-Macarius adds after giving some Scriptural examples as well as daily life examples...

"Do you not see the complete centering upon the Lord of a perfect love freely given?  And so also those who wish to follow in their footsteps must love nothing besides God so that, when they are tried, they may be found authentically prompt in preserving their love, their perfect love for the Lord.  Such as these are able to endure conflict to the end who have completely and with their whole heart loved God alone and who have freed themselves from all other loves for the world.  Few, however, are found who enjoy such a love, turning away from all pleasures and desires of the world and who manfully endure the assaults and temptations of the evil one."

Pseudo-Macarius insightfully makes a few more points, but this seems enough to sip and savor for now.

God bless His Real Presence in us, and us in His Real Presence.  Let us each and all remain in His Love!

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