“Perfect Christians who have been permitted to arrive at measures of perfection and to come very near the King, these are continually consecrated to the cross of Christ. As in the days of the prophets the unction was more precious than all things else, since unction made them kings and prophets, and now spiritual men, who are anointed with the the heavenly unction, become Christs according to grace, so that they too are kings, and prophets og heavenly mysteries. These are sons and lords and gods made prisoners and captives. …
“If the anointing of oil, which came from a material plant, a visible tree, had such force that those who were anointed received dignity beyond dispute—for it was a fixed rule, so that they were appointed kings; David, for instance, after being anointed, immediately fell into persecutions and was afflicted, and then after seven years became king—how much more do all who are anointed in mind and the inner man with the hallowing and cheering oil of gladness? The heavenly spiritual oil receive the stamp of that kingdom of the imperishable and everlasting power, the earnest of the Spirit, the Holy Ghost, the Comforter. He is called the comforter because he comforts those who are in affliction.” ~St. Macarius the Egyptian
Measures of Perfection
The truth is, nobody can be perfect on Earth, Christian or otherwise. But that doesn’t mean we should throw in the towel and just be barbarians. We can aim for perfection. We can become more perfect over time. Even if we can’t reach that goal during our life on Earth, we can make the effort to get as close as possible. Then we have less work to do after we die and find that the journey continues even after physical death, which it does. Only the perfected get into Heaven, no exceptions. So we should work towards that goal at all times.
When St. Macarius says we come “very near the King” when we do that, he isn’t referring to some earthly king, but to the true King in Heaven, which is God. God is, by definition, the perfect being, so the more we become perfected, the closer we get to God. Perfection is not, as some spiritual gurus claim, an unattainable goal so not worth pursuing. It is a valid goal and worth aiming for. And as someone once said with regard to goals, “aim high so even if you don’t reach the goal, you have still done well”. That, I think makes sense with the pursuit of perfection as well as all other goals we have in life. Continue reading “Perfection of Spirit and Soul”