Sunday, August 25, 2013

Two Things You Would Never Hear in a Homily

Frank Weathers today quotes from his favorite Desert Father, St. Macarius of Egypt.

Macarius tells his listeners ...

The world of Christians, and their way of life, and their mind, and discourse, and practice, is one thing; and that of the men of this world, another. And the difference between them is very wide. For the children of this world are tossed to and fro by unsettled seasonings, by earthly desires, and a variety of gross imaginations, whereby Satan is continually sifting the whole sinful race of men.

So there's One thing you'd never hear in a homily these days.  "Christians - do not be worldly, and thereby you will find peace."  He's saying even more than that.  He's saying Christians are not worldly, and that is one of their defining characteristics.  Perhaps this is no longer said because it no longer can be.

Here's number Two ...

For that which the soul has treasured up within, in this present life, shall then be made manifest outwardly in the body.

What St. Marcarius is saying here is the development of our spiritual life on earth will bear fruit in a physical way, in our new bodies, in the eternal life to come.

 Here, then, we have a preacher telling his congregation

  1. Set your mind on heaven, not on this passing world, which is tempest tossed.
  2. If we sow to the Spirit here, the harvest will be so real that it will last forever, even in a tangible physical way, in the world to come.

Both of these things are central to Christian doctrine.  Marcarius was preaching them in the Fourth Century.  

They are simply ignored in the 21st.

And yet it is a great consolation to read them.  

We are not of this world.  Our true life is but a seed here and blossoms forth elsewhere.  We carry within us God's grace, eternal life already begun, and in so far as we cultivate that life within us now, to that extent will we find happiness and peace even today, and a blessedness that will be fully incarnate and corporeal in the world to come.


1 comment:

Jeff Miller said...

If I had to rely on homilies to grow in holiness, I would pretty much have to give up. Usually I feel like a minor having to sift through tons of dirt to extract some gold. Although I admit there is certainly more gold there than I recognize.

I use to accuse myself for getting so little from a homily and afterwards having amnesia towards the content of the homily. Over time I have realized it was because the content of the homily was forgettable in the first place. Instead of being challenged my sins were excused or worse neglected.