St. Macarius the Great of Egypt
Commemorated on January 19
An extraordinary and irresistible impression was produced by St. Macarius on all who came into contact with him. Divine grace transfigured his whole being. It could be noticed in his glance, in his speech, and in that extraordinary love which poured out upon all around him. His word, even the simplest, was always uttered with authority. It created and built. Filled with divine wisdom and power, it penetrated to the very depth of the human spirit. Even those who didn’t know St. Macarius recognized him instantly amidst other monks by his extraordinary appearance.
“Christians,” he said, “should judge no one, neither an open harlot, nor sinners, nor dissolute people, but should look upon all with simplicity of soul and a pure eye. Purity of heart, indeed,’ consists in seeing sinful and weak men and having compassion for them and being merciful. “
With meekness arid mildness Macarius directed his brethren, inspiring in them above all love for each other. He said: “If, in giving someone a reprimand, you come in irritation, then you are: gratifying your passion. In this fashion, without saving others you cause harm to yourself as well.”
The meekness and humility of the monk transformed human souls. “A harmful word,” said Abba Macarius, “makes good things bad, but a good word makes bad things good.”
“If we shall remember the evil that men have done us, the remembrance of God will grow weak in us; but if we shall remember the evil brought upon us by demons, we shall be safe from their arrows.”
“If a soul still in the world does not possess in itself the sanctity of the Spirit for great faith and for prayer, and does not strive for the oneness of Divine communion, then it is unfit for the heavenly kingdom”
Asked how to pray, he replied: “It is enough if you will often repeat from your whole heart: Lord, as it pleases Thee and as Thou knowest, have mercy on me. And if temptation comes upon you: Lord, help me! The Lord knows what is profitable for us and has mercy on us.”
Not long before the death of Macarius, the desert dwellers of the Mount of Nitria appealed to him with a request: “Father, so as not to trouble: the whole multitude of the brethren with coming to you, do you yourself, before: you depart to the Lord, come to us.” When the: Saint came: to them, all with great joy came out to meet him. The elders begged him to give them all instructions, and St. Macarius said: “Let us weep, brethren: let our eyes pour out tears before we depart for a place where our tears will burn our bodies.” All burst out weeping, fell on their faces and begged: “Father, pray for us!”
St. Macarius possessed the grace-bestowed gift of tears.