St. Makarios of Egypt was an ascetic Father of the Egyptian desert in the 4th century who centers his 50 spiritual homilies on the inner struggle and spiritual life.

Many of us see the world around us, full of trouble, fear, difficulty, division, and the full weight of the brokenness of all creation as a result of the Fall. It seems week after week, month after month, there are more troubling developments and greater issues we have to deal with.

As Christians living in a fragmented world, St. Makarios tells us that actually we have the ability to bring a unique solution to the world. In fact he says “it is through the renewing of the mind and the tranquility experienced in our thoughts and the love of the lord…that every new creation of Christians distinguishes them[selves] from the men of this world.”

We know that we are meant to be in the world but not of the world, yet what St. Makarios is encouraging us to do, is to create a shift in the world through working on our inner selves.

In fact, he encourages us to “receive in the inner person another Spirit” one which tastes “another ineffable beauty and have participated in other riches.” In effect, he is describing exactly the principle of being in the world, but not of it.

Understanding human nature, St. Makarios shares with us that many have experienced and become partakers of heavenly grace, but are wounded because of daily battles and struggles and work involved with various temptations. We are overwhelmed by battles we have not fought and evil that is beyond our ability to conquer. I’m sure we can all share that feeling of knowing we believe, yet feeling overwhelmed in our faith journey to put our faith into action.

So the work on our Inner Man becomes the tip of the spear in our journey of spiritual development.

St. Makarios shares with us that the soul that tends towards the Lord will completely free itself from the toils of this life. Everyone who yields themselves perfectly to the Word of the Lord, frees themselves from the invisible shackles of our broken world and society.

It is when there is “effort, patience, restraint, and every kind of watchfulness, or alacrity and perseverance in prayer to the Lord, that one can rise above the enticements of the world and avoid the attacks of evil spirits.”

Ultimately, the solution to the brokenness of the world that St. Makarios is trying to share with us, is a journey inward. A journey where we become the light of the world, by tuning our own light so it can shine upon those around us. “As you offer God any part of yourself, he himself shares with your soul similar aspects of his own being, so that all you do, you may do sincerely and purely, loving and praying…” all the days of our life.

May we begin the inward journey today, and so illumine ourselves, our family and loved ones, and the whole world, with the light of the Holy Spirit, making manifest our Lord Jesus Christ, in all that we do.