The “take home” about the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives. From Mark the Ascetic.

There is lots of complicated "stuff" regarding the procession of the Holy Spirit, and His being sent. The take home is pretty easy, no matter how difficult the theology is. He came to us and abides in us for our illumination and perfection. We cannot use reason to understand Him or the energies of the Holy Trinity, and God's relationship with Himself, but we can accept His enlightenment in one way only, as St Mark the Ascetic teaches:

"(The Holy Spirit) … gives to each person what is needful. On those who have been baptized He pours Himself out in His fulness like the sun. Each of us is illumined by Him to the extent to which we hate the passions that darken us and get rid of them. But in so far as we have a love for them and dwell on them, we remain in darkness."

St Mark the Ascetic, "On those who think they are made righteous by works: 226 Texts", # 118, The Philokalia, I:135

An irony of St Mark's teaching is that some who are in the thrall of Western pseudo-Christian teaching would consider the saint's words to be a kind of dependence on works!


  1. Thank you, Fr. Seraphim, for this writing from St. Mark the Ascetic.  I love this saint.  I think he is also called St. Mark the Evgenicos (Pure) and St. Mark of Ephesus.  He has written some beautiful spiritual things and he was also a champion for Orthodoxy; during his lifetime he fought for the Orthodox ways and beliefs.

  2. Sorry, Fr. Seraphim, I've been meaning to write back sooner about this topic of St. Mark.   I made a mistake in my earlier comment, above.
    St. Mark of Ephesus (celebrated January 19 / February 1) lived in the 15th century, in the 1400's.  He was the champion for Orthodoxy.  He was an ascetic, priest and archbishop.  He was sent to the Council of the Latins in Florence to unite the churches.  But he did not sign the decree.  Therefore, he saved the Orthodox Church from falling into the hands of the pope (the Roman Catholic church).
    St. Mark the Ascetic, a/k/a Mark the Monk, (celebrate March 5 / 18) lived in the 5th century, the 400's in Egypt, at the same time as St. John Chrysostom, and lived as an ascetic for over 60 years.  He knew the Bible by heart and was known as very gentle, merciful and pure of soul.  He wept for the distress of others.  We still have some of his homilies such as the one above which Fr. Seraphim has shared with us.  His homiles are very beautiful.
    I did some research to educate myself.  Actually, I am trying to understand the difference between the two saints.  I think I understand it now, myself.  I always thought it was one saint by the name of Mark, but they are two different saints who lived at completely different eras and are know for different gifts.  I hope this clears up the confusion that I caused in my first comment, above.
    Fr. Seraphim, please print more of the writings of St. Mark the Ascetic.

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