Thursday, January 3, 2013

Pseudo-Macarius on the Commandments 'Thou Shalt Not Lust' and 'Thou Shalt Not Be Angry'

What is the fruit God expects of Christians? All visible things God created, and gave them to men for recreation and enjoyment, and he gave them also a law of justice. But ever since - 104- Christ's coming, God demands other fruit and another righteousness, namely, a purity of heart, a good conscience, profitable speech, holy and good thoughts, and all the works of the saints. For the Lord says: "Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. It is written in the Law: Do not commit adultery. But I tell you. Do not lust or be angry" (Mt 5:20 ff.). For it is necessary that he who truly desires to be a friend of God keep himself  from the mire of sin, but for the eternal fire which is in us. [Pseudo-Macarius Homily 13.17]

It is easy for someone to say that bread is made of wheat. But he should rather be able to describe how in detail the bread is prepared and baked. To speak truly about freedom from passions and perfection is given to few. The Gospel succinctly says: "Thou shalt not be angry, thou shalt not covet. If any man smites thee on the cheek, turn also the other cheek. If any one drags thee to court to have your tunic, give him also your cloak" (Mt 5:39ff.). The Apostle, tracing out how the work of purifying the heart must be done with patience and perseverance, teaches in many ways how first there is feeding with milk as with babies; then there is a movement or progress to growth and to full perfection. For the Gospel said that the garment is made of wool. The Apostle, however, declared in detail just how it is sewn together.[Homily 17.11]

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