God united holiness with great beauty, because there is nothing more beautiful than a saint… because in the saints, God rests as Holy. That is why He places them before His face, receives them into special habitations, and makes them His co-dwellers and participants His glory and Kingdom. Man is made a son of God in no other way than by becoming a saint. It is not just liberation from sins that make one a saint, but also the presence of the Spirit and the wealth of good deeds. Not only the words but the very faces of the saints are filled with spiritual grace. This is the custom of the saints: If they (by God’s allowance) do something bad, then they solemnly show it, bemoan it everyday and reveal it for all to see. If they do something noble and great, they hide it and commit it to oblivion. The souls of the saints are filled with meekness and loving-kindness to friend and stranger alike; they feel pity for dumb animals. The souls of the saints are such that they sympathize with the suffering and do not envy the fortunate, but rather rejoice, are glad, and consoled when they see others receiving good things.
Such are the souls of the saints: They sacrifice their own safety in order to correct others. Aflame with love for the Lord, the saints raise sacred songs, not feeling the least sorrowful in this, but giving themselves over entirely to prayer… The highest holiness and perfection consists not in the working of miracles, but in purity of love—and this is just. Miracles must cease and perish, but love ever remains (1 Cor. 13:8). The saints… as citizens of heaven, serve God amidst those born on earth. In their tireless struggle they overcome fleshly lusts and their own bodies, making them vessels of sanctity by their Lord’s will. They direct the forces of their souls toward spiritual contemplation and become abodes of God in every way, so that He might find rest in them. For the sake of people the Lord’s grace has descended into the abode of the righteous, in order share with all His saving gifts, which He imparts to His servants.
Love of the Lord has brought the sharers in His mysteries to the path of life. The saints have attained the promise amidst the assaults of the flesh. They have observed the truth, preserved order, fulfilled their duties, and in the name of truth have found rest in the harbor from the turbulence of life. My thoughts have followed after them, and I saw death long mortified in them and become as nothing. Who has seen entire hosts feeding on glory alone? Their garments are light, their faces are radiance; they continually take in and pour out the fullness of divine grace. In their lips is a source of wisdom, in their thoughts, peace, in knowledge, truth, in scrutiny, fear, in laudation, love. The saints inherit the Kingdom while still in the flesh. The nature of flesh demands rest, while they strive more for compunction; when they are treated bitterly they rejoice, and when sick they do not seek cures. Our nature finds pleasure in glory, while they are consoled when mocked; they hide their works of mercy, and try to hide their piety. The nature of the flesh demands taking food, while they wear out their flesh with fasting, and refine it with ascetic labors. Nature is disposed towards marital life, while they bridle their nature with abstinence, and cut off all causes of desire. Our nature chases after the comforts of life, while the saints, when they are given offence endure it, and when they are robbed, they take it magnanimously. Therefore it could be said that they renounce almost all fleshly life.
When the books of the saints’ consciences will be opened, then Christ our God will shine in them, while now He abides in them secretly, and thus the saints are made like unto Him, the Most High God. The souls of the saints are free from vainglory; they are adorned with the most bright and royal vesture of the All Holy Spirit and are filled to overflowing mostly with God’s glory. They not only do not take care to gain human glory, but when they are surrounded by it they pay no attention to it at all. All the saints are truly members of Christ God, and as member are joined to Him and united with His body so that Christ is the head, and the saints are His members from the beginning to the end of their days. And they all together comprise one body… Some of them are in the rank of arms and hands, working until they have fulfilled His will, transforming the unworthy into the worthy and presenting them to Him. Others are in the rank of the shoulders of Christ’s body, bearing each other’s burdens, or taking upon themselves the found lost sheep that were wandering in the mountains and abysses, bringing them to Christ and so fulfilling His law. Others are in the rank of breasts, which pour forth the purest water of wisdom and reason for those thirsting and hungry for God’s righteousness; that is, they teach them God’s word and give them the true bread of which the holy angels partake—that is, true theology—as ones beloved of Christ and leaning on His breast. Others are in the rank of the heart, which have room in their bosom through love for all people, take into themselves the spirit of salvation, and serve as storehouses of the ineffable and hidden mysteries of Christ. Others are in the rank of the loins, which have within them parental, divine thoughts, the power of mystical theology, and by their words of instruction sow the seeds of piety in people’s hearts. Others, finally, are in the rank of bones and feet, who show courage and patience in temptations like Job, and remain standing immovably in goodness, not withdrawing from the burdens placed on them, but eagerly accepting them and carrying them cheerfully to the end.
Thus is the body of Christ’s Church harmoniously composed of all the saints from the ages, whole and all-perfect; and all as one are sons of God, written in the heavens. Man is holy when he turns away from evil and does good not so that he would be illumined by good works—for the works of the law do not justify a single soul—but because through doing good deeds he becomes like unto the Holy God. Although they are bound to their bodies in this world, the souls of the saints unite with the grace of the Holy Spirit, are renewed, changed for the better, and are resurrected from mental death. Then, when they are separated from their bodies, they depart to glory and the bright radiance of unwaning light… For this has the Goodness of the Spirit described for us the life and deeds of all the saints… so that we might learn as they did, be of one nature with them, perfect ourselves in all the virtues, and not be lazy about exercising ourselves in those virtues.