Testimonies and Experiences
Instead of an Epilogue
Instead of an epilogue we present the following excerpt from the eighteenth homily of our Holy Father Makarios of Egypt. It can be found in his complete works [PG 34, 640-641]:
"Those who have been deemed worthy to become children of God and to be reborn from above by the Holy Spirit, who have Christ within themselves, enlightening them and giving them rest, are guided by the spirit in many and various ways. They receive God's grace in a mystical way within their hearts, which grants them spiritual comfort. We will mention, as an example, some people who apparently gained worldly enjoyment, partially showing association of the soul with the grace of God. Sometimes they feel like they are at a royal banquet, where they are filled with joy and inexpressible happiness. At other times they feel like a bride who unites with her bridegroom and rests with him in divine repose. At other times they are like bodiless angels, they are so light and trascendent, even in the body. Sometimes they are as if they have become intoxicated with a strong drink. They delight in the Spirit, being inebriated, namely, by the intoxication of the divine and spiritual mysteries.
Sometimes they find themselves immersed in weeping and lamenting over the human race and pouring out prayers on behalf of the whole race of Adam. They shed tears and are consumed by the love of the Spirit towards mankind. At another time, they are so enflamed by the Spirit with such joy and love that, if it were possible, they would gather every human being into their very hearts, without distinguishing the bad and the good. Again they are so filled with humility, regarding themselves below all men in the humility received from the Spirit, so they consider themselves as the least significant and most worthless of all human beings. Sometimes they are lifted up in joy unspeakable. At other times they are like some powerful person who has donned the king's whole armor and has come to do battle against the enemies. He fights courageously against them and conquers. Whoever is spiritual takes up the heavenly weapons of the Spirit and atttacks the enemies, does battle with them and puts them under his feet.
At other times, in deepest silence and tranquility, one rests in unique spiritual pleasure, in indescribable rest and spiritual well-being. At another time one is instructed in understanding and unspeakable wisdom and knowledge of the unknowable Spirit through grace in matters that cannot be expressed in tongue and speech. At another time one becomes like all human beings. So varied are the ways that grace affects the soul in so many different parts refreshing in it accord with will of God. Grace exercises the soul differently, in order to restore it to the heavenly Father perfect, faultless and pure.
These things spoken of here concerning the workings of the Spirit belong to the level of those who are not far from perfection. Those various manifestations of grace that we spoke of, even though they are expressed differently, still act on such person in progression, one operation following another. Finally, when a person reaches the perfection of the Spirit, completely purified of all passions and united to the Paraclete Spirit in an inexpressible communion, and is deemed worthy to become spirit, united with the Spirit, then it becomes all light, all eye, all spirit, all joy, all rest, all happiness, all love, all compassion, all goodness, all kindness. As a stone in the depths of the sea is completely surrounded by water, so are those who have united in every way with the Holy Spirit. They become like Christ, putting on the virtues of the power of the Spirit. It keeps them constant, and they become both inwardly and outwardly faultless, spotless and pure.
Having been restored by the Spirit, how can they outwardly produce evil fruit? But the fruits of the Spirit shine forth in them, always and in all things. Let us then beg God and believe with love and much hope so that he may grant us with the heavenly grace of the gift of his Spirit in order that the Spirit himself may direct and guide us into the complete will of God and give us rest with his varied leisure. "Let us beseech God so that, through this guidance and exercise of grace and spiritual progress, we may be deemed worthy to attain the perfect fullness of Christ." (Eph. 3:19). And again, "...until we come into the perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." (Eph. 4:13). The Lord has promised all who believe in him and asked in truth to bestow on them the mysteries of the inexpressible communion of the Spirit. Let us, therefore, give ourselves completely to the Lord and hasten to receive the good things spoken of above. Consecrated in soul and body and nailed to the cross of Christ, let us become worthy of the eternal kingdom, glorifying the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit forever. Amen.
____________Previous // Contents // Next
Article published in English on: 3-4-2009.
Last Update: 3-4-2009.