LENTEN FIRE: March 1

From Becoming Fire: Through the Year with the Desert Fathers and Mothers 


The pure angelic habit

Abba Macarius said, “Like the carpenter who straightens what is crooked and bends what is straight, so it is with the repentance that our Lord Jesus Christ has appointed for us: it makes straight again what is crooked and rolls in the filth of sin and makes it pure like virgins standing in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Matthew 25:1-13)  Those who turn away from their sins and repent receive the pure angelic habit that is in Heaven.

The sweet of all sweets

Abba Poemen said: “I was sitting one time with some brothers beside Abba Macarius.  I said to him, ‘My father, what work must a person do in order to acquire life for himself?’

“The old man said to me, ‘I know that when I was a child in my father’s house I used to observe that the old women and the young people were chewing something in their mouths so that it would sweeten the saliva in their throats and the bad breath of their mouths, sweetening and refreshing their liver and all their innards.  If something fleshly can so sweeten those who chew it and ruminate it, then how much more the food of life, the spring of salvation,the fount of living water, the sweet of all sweets, our Lord Jesus Christ!  If the demons hear his glorious name blessed by our mouths, they vanish like smoke.  This blessed name, if we persevere in it and ruminate on it, opens up the spirit, the charioteer of the soul and the body, and drives all thoughts of evil out of the immortal soul and reveals to it heavenly things, especially him who is in Heaven, our Lord Jesus Christ, king of kings and lord of lords, (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14) who gives heavenly rewards to those who seek him with their whole heart!

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