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Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter (Classics of Western Spirituality) [Paperback]

By George A. Maloney (Author) & Pseudo-Macarius (Author)
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Item description for Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter (Classics of Western Spirituality) by George A. Maloney & Pseudo-Macarius...

The writings of Pseudo-Macarius, a Syrian monk of the 4th century, bring to Western Christianity a holistic "heart" spirituality that offers a necessart complementarity to the "head" spirituality of the West. The homilies reveal the typical traits of Eastern Christian asceticism and The Great Letter instructs the monastic community.

Publishers Description
The writings of Pseudo-Macarius, a Syrian monk of the 4th century, bring to Western Christianity a holistic "heart" spirituality that offers a necessary complementarity to the "head" spirituality of the West. The homilies reveal the typical traits of Eastern Christian asceticism and The Great Letter instructs the monastic community.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Paulist Press
Pages   298
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.75" Width: 6.01" Height: 0.76"
Weight:   1.15 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 1, 1992
Publisher   Paulist Press
Series  Classics of Western Spirituality  
ISBN  0809133121  
ISBN13  9780809133123  

Availability  0 units.

More About George A. Maloney & Pseudo-Macarius

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! George A. Maloney, S.J., holds a doctorate in Eastern Christian Theology from the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome. He has established himself as an outstanding author of works on prayer and Eastern Christian spirituality as applied to the daily life of Christians. He is the founder of Contemplative Ministries, Seal Beach, CA, where he now lives a hermitical life.

George A. Maloney currently resides in Seal Beach, in the state of California. George A. Maloney was born in 1924.

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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > Faith
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
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Reviews - What do customers think about Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter (Classics of Western Spirituality)?

Macarius Enthusiasm rooted in the Realism of the Desert   Aug 25, 2007

"I read Macarius and sang, wrote John Wesley ... There are countless others, alike in Eastern and in Western Christianity, who have experienced a similar joy through reading Macarius. The Homilies are written with a Warmth of feeling, an affectivity and enthusiasm, that are instantly attractive. ... his is an enthusiasm rooted in the realism and austerity of the desert." Bp. K. Ware, Preface

Author, Pseudo-Macarius:
Macarius of Egypt (301-391) who inspired Wesley, assuming he was reading in the Spiritual Homilies, is one of the most revered of the desert fathers, described as 'bearer of the Spirit.' The publication of seven new homilies in 1918 of Macarii Anecdota, attributed to St. Macarius of Egypt in the Harvard Theological Studies has revived the interest in the authorship of the Macarian writings, and the mystery surrounding them.
Pseudo-Macarius, according to some scholars, was a Messalian monk (condemned as heretical in 383). Recent notions support that the author of the Fifty Spiritual Homilies was a fifth-century Syrian monk 'whose conception of Christian spirituality was derived almost exclusively from Gregory of Nyssa.' He is one of the greatest of all the Eastern Church teachers in the quest for perfection. Although Gennadius recognizes a letter addressed to the novice monks, as the only writing of Macarius, there is no evidence to deny the authentic character of the fifty homilies ascribed to him, even if edited later by the Syriac Symeon the Logothete. While the seven so-called Opuscula ascetica edited under his name by Possinus in 1683, are later compilations from the homilies, made by the Syriac writer Symeon, who is probably identical with Metaphrastes (d. 950). Macarius likewise seems to have been the author of several minor writings, and a number of other letters and prayers including the Arrow Prayer (adopted by the Hesycasts as the Jesus Prayer). Those who read Macarius are instructed on the stages of divine ascent, holiness of the heart, progressive perfection, and the affective manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.

Messalian movement:
Greek historian Sozomen identifies the first Syrian monks as boskoi or "grazers," homeless people who ceaselessly praised God as they wandered the mountain regions, consuming neither bread nor meat nor wine. During this period the nebulous group of Messalians (Syriac: People Who Pray) were classified as heretics with specific doctrines attributed to them by church authorities and councils. This activity was the result of an ecclesiastical process of defining, and homogenizing different forms of Christian life, marginalizing any disturbing factions or competing sects. But since the alleged Messalian practices were rooted in the Gospels rather than a Messalian tradition, what was supposed to be uniquely Messalian could be found all over the Byzantine empire wherever Christian faithful turned to the Gospels for devotion on ascetical forms of monasticism and mysticism. Epiphanius of Salamis included Messalians in the Panarion, his famous catalogue of heresies. Wandering, cohabitation of males and females, total renunciation of material possessions, unceasing prayer and irregular fasting, and argia (refusal to work and thus begging) were their basic sins. Messalians, were condemned in the council at Ephesus in 431. John of Damascus cited 18 sections from their anathematized manual, Asceticon, in his On Heresies, but these citations have been shown to be excerpted from the spiritual homilies of Pseudo-Macarius. We are warned, therefore, to be wary of the paradigms of heresy-hunters like Epiphanius, by Daniel Caner's Berkeley doctoral dissertation modifying our understanding of such patterns of ascetic behavior of those wandering, begging monks and ascetics .

Desert Traditions in p-Macarius:
The teachings of Macarius, in harmony of all Desert Father are identified by a mystical and spiritual typos of thought which has endeared them to Christian mystics of all ages, while in his anthropology and soteriology he follows Athanasius, and leads to Cyril. Certain characteristic passages of his homilies assert the Semi-Pelagian theology of free will, even after the fall of Adam. He reflects entire depravity of man, while introducing and postulating a centrality of kenosis as a way toward virtue, ascribing to Synergy, man's ability to attain an affinity to accept salvation.
Simon Tugwell, wrote on Macarius, in 'The Study of Spirituality', "What we learn from this is an extremely high ideal of perfection. At times Macarius seems to imply that, by grace we can attain to this ideal in this life, but what matters is that we should believe that God's commandments and promises are realistic, even if perfection comes only after this life."

Macarius Salvific Vision:
David Ford, of St. Tikhon Orthodox Seminary critically compares Macarius' vision of Theosis with Wesley's doctrine of Christian perfection and finds that in significant areas "Wesley departed from the spirit and the specific teachings of Makarius." The desert father stress on the inward "witness of the Spirit" as assurance of salvation and perfection; his conception of entire sanctification and its attainment as the highest goal of the Christian life, 'rather than simply the seeking of God himself, and of participation in his life, which cannot be categorized.'
* Macarian perfection, concludes Ford, is not a specific, identifiable experience, but rather a yearning after God and progressive participation in the divine nature which in the end presents itself as deification. The purpose of the Lord's coming, according to Macarius, was to alter and create our souls anew, and make them, as it is written, "partakers of the divine nature," and to give into our soul a heavenly soul, that is the Spirit of the Godhead leading us to all virtue, that we might be enabled to live eternal life. (Homily 44.9)
* Macarius' reference to the gift of a 'heavenly soul' or the 'Spirit of Godhead,' according to Ford, is an affirmation of Ireneaus' concept of the Holy Spirit as originally a constitutive part of Adam's nature which was lost in the Fall. Before original sin there was original blessing, rediscovered recently by Matthew Fox. Since God became human in Christ, says Macarius, our original human nature can be restored and surpassed, our potential divine nature realized, in the dynamic process of theosis in which ...sin is rooted out and one recovers the original configuration of pure Adam. Humankind, however, thanks to the Spirit's power and to spiritual regeneration, not only measures up to the first Adam, but is made greater than he. Man is deified." (Homily XXVI)
* For Macarius, perfection is nothing less than the surpassing of human nature and becoming in some sense divine, through the work of grace required for the attainment of total sanctification through baptism, the Eucharist, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Macarius did not urge Christians to seek or claim a specific state or experience, of 'full salvation,' the unique experience and assurance of love made perfect in the soul, but just to seek simply God. Macarius, in the desert fathers tradition, did not teach any doctrine of 'salvific assurance,' warning repeatedly against ever making such a claim." Macarius' wisdom and humility in never claiming to have actually attained perfection or entire sanctification in his lifetime. Macarius as an excellent model of Christians stated in his preface to the Homilies: "Whatever he insists upon is essential, is durable, is necessary" Macarius references to ascetic life and to the notion of theosis or 'deification' is perhaps the most distinctively Alexandrian doctrine in the Macarian literature"

Macarian Homilies & Spirituality:
Fr. Golitzin of Marquette University, relates Macarius' Paradigm on luminous metamorphosis as "Many Lamps are Lightened from the One," saying, "...since I take the transfiguration of my title as inclusive for Macarius of all of these. To touch briefly on some of the points to follow, he perceives Christianity as the renewal of the human being. God in Christ has entered into our world and, in baptism, into the Christian's body and soul. The latter is thus, in potential, the royal throne of Christ, and to work toward the conscious fulfillment of that potential, that is, to a loving awareness and even perhaps vision of the indwelling glory of Christ in the Spirit, is the whole aim of Christian life on this side of the eschaton. Hope and longing for that encounter engage one in a total effort of moral and psychological reform, an effort which, once committed to, reveals in its turn the limitations of any purely human effort, and so the necessity of grace to overcome the force of sin rooted in the soul. Humility, thus, and constant prayer provide the necessary ground for that stress on the visitation of grace for which the Macariana are primarily known: the light-filled experience of the divine presence 'perceptibly and with complete assurance."

Fifty Spiritual Homilies:
This fine book, written twenty years ago, on Eastern Spirituality explores the mystical legacy, and theological foundation of the fourth-century edifying Homilies. The anonymous author of the writings (commonly referred to as Pseudo-Macarius, Macarius-Symeon) had a decisive influence on shaping of the Christian monastic and mystical tradition. The book offers a serious attempt to analyse the mode and extent of that influence. Fr. Maloney, S.J. who pioneered to take this project of providing a modern English translation, went beyond the exploration of the writings to the mission of the desert fathers, and the scope of their living Christian tradition. His elaborate and systematic coverage in the book introduction, he follows the development of the dual emphasis in early Christianity, and located Pseudo Macarius in the Semitic holistic approach of Antioch, amended by his editors to consider Alexandrine tradition of Clement, Origen, and above all Gregory of Nyssa. He covers the history of the manuscripts, in their four collections. Then he speculates on the author's identity, religious community, and relationship with the Cappadocians, concluding in the complexity of the issues, even with the close parallels with St. Gregory. He then he tries to systemize the Macarian Doctrine, by analyzing the main emphases of the writings. He concludes with the proof of the orthodoxy of Macarian sublime teaching on spiritual perfection, and mystical life, confirming its harmony with the Holy scripture and Patristic traditions.

A reviewer's note:
According to Macarius, the Lord's coming, was to alter and create our souls anew, "partakers of the divine nature," and to give into our soul a heavenly soul, that is the Spirit of the Godhead leading us to all virtue, that we might be enabled to live eternal life. (Homily 44.9)
Thus Macarius ascribes to St. Cryil, and Alexandrine theosis, since It is noteworthy that writers of the Antiochene school do not quote '2 Peter 1:4'." Conversely, adds Norman Russell, the leading expert on theosis "the text was used by those who operated with a Logos-sarx Christology (Alexandrine Fathers) and with a doctrine (deriving ultimately from Origen) of a dynamic participation in God.

The Macarian Legacy: The Place of Macarius-Symeon in the Eastern Christian Tradition (Oxford Theological Monographs)St. Macarius The Spirit Bearer: Coptic Texts Relating To Saint Macarius The Great (St. Vladimir's Seminary Press "Popular Patristics" Series)
Will the Real Macarius Please Glaze Up  Feb 10, 2004
Its too bad at times that history can cross over its facts. Macarius is one of its victims, maybe a mix of two different persons from around 385-430 AD, one an Egyptian desert father & the other a Syrian monk, therefore the term 'Pseudo' is always used before this collection of writings. Because of this mix up, it is not know if this set of writings were condemned at the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD as a part of the heretical movement called `Messalians' which emphasized prayer rather than the sacraments, or if these writings are `Orthodox' & have greatly influenced eastern Christian spirituality, & later Pietism & Methodism.

Within this spiritual masterpiece, Macarius writes about the `Brotherhood' with its duties & instructions of living, a sort of monastic manual. Then the writings focus of the primary need to follow Jesus Christ, under the control of the Holy Spirit, while grazing directly at God the Father by direct experience. This is done chiefly by prayer with 12 steps of progression to perfection that causes a 'Sober Intoxication' that affects first the single person, than the community at large.

Paulist Press does another fine job creating an easy to read, well-made paperback that can fit nicely with the other books from the fantastic series `Classics of Western Spirituality'. Highly recommend.


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