A Blessed Christmas to all, from my family to yours. May the miracle of the Incarnation kindle within you the everlasting light of Our Lord and Savior. Here are some thoughts to share from my patron saint, and a song.
From the Thirty-First Homily of St. Macarius the Great (aka, “my” Abba),
If we do not become slothful and give over the field to the unruly thoughts of evil, but compel our minds to obey our will, forcing our thoughts to the Lord, assuredly the Lord will come to us with His will and take us in unto Himself in truth. All well-pleasing and all service are in the thoughts. Therefore endeavour to please the Lord, always looking for Him within, seeking Him in thy thoughts, and forcing and constraining thine own will and purpose to stretch upwards continually towards Him. Then see how He comes unto thee and makes His abode with thee. In proportion as thou gatherest up thy mind to seek Him, He is far more constrained by His own tender compassion and kindness to come to thee and give thee rest. He stands contemplating thy mind, thy thoughts, thy intentions, observing how thou seekest Him, whether with thy whole soul, not indolently, not carelessly.
And when He sees thy diligence to seek Him, then He manifests Himself and appears to thee, and imparts to thee of His own succour, and makes the victory thine, delivering thee from thine enemies. Having first contemplated thy seeking unto Him, and how thy whole expectation is without ceasing fixed on Him, He then teaches and gives thee true prayer, true charity, which is Himself in thee made all things—paradise, tree of life, pearl, crown, builder, husbandman, sufferer, incapable of suffering, man, God, wine and living water, lamb, bridegroom, warrior, armour, Christ all in all. And as the babe knows not how to take care of itself, or do for itself, but looks only to its mother, waiting until she has pity on it and takes it up, so faithful souls always hope only in the Lord, ascribing all righteousness to Him. As without the vine the branch is dried up, so is he who desires to be justified without Christ. As is the robber and the thief, who does not enter through the entrance, but climbeth up some other way, so is he who is justified to himself without the Justifier.
Let us therefore take this body of ours, and make an altar of it, and lay upon it every intention of ours, and beseech the Lord that He would send from heaven the great invisible fire, and consume the altar and everything upon it, and that all the priests of Baal, which are the opposing activities, may fall; and then we shall see the spiritual rain coming in the soul like a man’s footprint, so that it becomes the promise of God in us, as it is said in the prophet, I will raise up and build again the tabernacle of David which is fallen, and will build again the ruins thereof, in order that the Lord with His own loving kindness may shine upon the soul which is dwelling in night and darkness, in the drunkenness of ignorance, so that it may wake to soberness and walk without stumbling, performing the works of day and of life. For where the soul feeds, thence is it nourished, either from the world, or from the Spirit of God; and God is there nourished, and lives, and rests, and goes up and down.
And now for that song I promised. Sting & crew sing Three Ships from Durham Cathedral.