Feast Day: January 19th


The Life of Saint Makarios: On the day of his death a Cherubim appeared to him with a multitude of Angels and said: “Arise, O follower of the Lord, and come with us into Eternal Life.” The Cherubim indicated to him the throngs of Saints who had come out to meet him: “Behold the assembly of Apostles, behold the throng of Prophets, behold the multitude of Martyrs, behold the choir of Holy hierarchs, fasters, monks and righteous men. Give unto me now your Soul, which I was commanded by God to preserve during its Earthly life.” With the words, “Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit,” Saint Makarios departed to the Lord…

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Prayers

Apolytikion: Thou didst prove to be a citizen of the desert, an angel in the flesh, and a Wonderworker, O Makarios, our God-bearing Father. By fasting, vigil, and Prayer thou didst obtain Heavenly gifts, and thou healest the sick and the Souls of them that have recourse to thee with faith. Glory to Him that hath given thee strength. Glory to Him that hath crowned thee. Glory to Him that worketh healings for all through thee.

Kontakion: The Lord God established thee, O great ascetic, in the house of abstinence, like an unerring star that lit the farthest regions with guiding light, Father of Fathers, O Venerable Makarios.


Our Trinitarian God

“Think… how great is your dignity since God has moved with His own army of Angels and spirits to enter into battle with the adversary in order to redeem you from death. God, therefore, came for your sake.”

“Believe me, if you knew Who is with you, you would not fear anything the world has to offer.”

“The Holy Spirit prepares you to be a bride of Jesus.”

“The Soul that really loves God and Christ, though it may do ten thousand righteousnesses, esteems itself as having wrought nothing, by reason of its insatiable aspiration after God.”

“Let us beseech God to bestow upon us the wings of a dove, even of the Holy Ghost, that we may fly to Him and be at rest”

“When the Soul becomes totally radiant and covered with the ineffable beauty of the Glory of the Light of Christ, it comes to share in the very life of the Divine Spirit to such perfection that it is changed into the very chamber and Throne of God.”

“As the Lord put on the body, leaving behind all principality and power, so Christians put on the Holy Spirit, and are at rest.”

“If then you have become the Throne of God, and the Heavenly Charioteer has seated himself within you, and your Soul is entirely transformed into a spiritual eye, and is made into light; if you too are nourished with the Heavenly food of that Spirit and have drunk of the Living Water, and have put on the secret garment of light – if your inward being has experienced all these things and is established in rich unshakable faith, then you are living the Eternal Life, and your Soul even in this present time – rests with Christ.”

“Special services, special foods, continence, not going to dances and events, all this awakes one to piety and reflection on our present purpose, on the past and on eternity. Seeing in ourselves a falling away from the Commandments of God, we try to reconcile ourselves to God through repentance and communion of the Most Pure and Life-giving Mysteries of Christ, which burn the thorns of our sins. You, when you have not fulfilled this duty during the year, of course will fulfill it during the fast. The most merciful Lord loved us so much, that He gave us, through food and drink, His Most Pure Body and Life-giving Blood, as a token of Life Eternal and the incorrupt future feast. Let us offer Him thanksgiving with pure hearts, lips and acts!”


Prayer

“There is no need at all to make long discourses; it is enough to stretch out one’s hand and say, ‘Lord, as You will, and as You know, have mercy.’ And if the conflict grows fiercer say, ‘Lord help!’ God knows very well what we need and He shows us His mercy.””

“One must force himself to Prayer when he has not Spiritual Prayer; and thus God, beholding him thus striving and compelling himself by force, in spite of an unwilling heart, gives him the true Prayer of the Spirit.”

“Jesus, Jesus, if my cries do not ring in Your ears when I call out day and night to You in Heaven to have mercy on me and to pity me on account of my sins, I will still not grow tired of imploring You.”

“Trust that the Lord is always a provider for those who take refuge in Him.”

“My children, throwing oneself down before God is when a person does not trust in his own strength alone but places his faith in the help of God, for it is He Who saves us.”


Repentance

“But if it appears to us impossible to turn from a multitude of sins, let us call to mind how our Lord, when conversing with mankind, by his goodness restored the blind to their sight, cured the sick, healed every kind of disease, raised the dead that were gone down into corruption, made the deaf to hear, cast a legion of devils out of one man and recovered him to his right mind; how much more will he convert the Soul that turns to Him, and petitions Him for mercy, and bring it into the cheerful state of freedom from passions, into an establishment of every virtue, and a renovation of the mind from the deadness of infidelity, and ignorance, and want of fear.”

“Pride, more than anything else, deprives people of both their good deeds and the help of God. Where there is no light, there is darkness and where there is no humility, pride takes its place.”

“When I was small with other children, I used to eat bilberries and they used to go and steal the little figs. As they were running away, they dropped one of the figs, and I picked it up and ate it. Every time I remember this, I sit down and weep.”

“Let us not slacken our resolve nor be without hope, for with every breath that we take our Lord Jesus Christ gives us opportunity for repentance.”

“A brother asked Abba Macarius, ‘My father, I have committed a transgression.’ Abba Macarius said to him, ‘it is written, my child, ‘I do not desire the death of a sinner so much as his repentance and his life’ (Ezek. 33:11, 1 Tim 2:4, 2 Pet 3:9). Repent, therefore, my child; you will see Him Who is gentle, Our Lord Jesus Christ, His face full of joy for you, like a nursing mother whose face is full of joy for her child. When he raises his hands and his face up to her, even if he is full of all kinds of uncleanness, she does not turn away from that bad smell and excrement but takes pity on him and lifts him up and presses him to her breast, her face full of joy, and everything about him is sweet to her. If, then, this created person has pity for her child, how much greater is the love of the Creator, Our Lord Jesus Christ, for us!'”

“How is it possible that in the face of so many exhortations and promises, we still refuse to accept totally to go to Him and surrender ourselves completely to Him?”

“For Lazarus also, whom the Lord raised up, exuded so fetid an odor that no one could approach his tomb, as a symbol of Adam whose Soul exuded such a great stench and was full of blackness and darkness. But you, when you hear about Adam and the wounded traveler and Lazarus, do not let your mind wander as it were into the mountains, but remain inside within your Soul, because you also carry the same wounds, the same smell, the same darkness. We are all his sons and we all inherit the same stench. Therefore, the passions that he suffered, all of us, who are of Adam’s seed, suffer also. For such a suffering has hit us, as Isaiah says: It is not a wound, nor a bruise, nor an inflamed sore. It is impossible to apply a soothing salve or oil or to make bandages. (Is 1:6). Thus we were wounded with an incurable wound. Only the Lord could heal it. For this He came in His own person because no one of the ancients nor the Law itself nor the Prophets were able to heal it. He alone, when He came, healed that sore, the incurable sore of the Soul Let us, therefore, receive God the Lord, the true Healer, Who alone can come to heal our Souls, after He has borne so much on our behalf. For He is always knocking at the doors of our hearts in order that we may open up to Him and that He may enter in and take His rest in our Souls, and that we may wash His feet and He may take up His abode with us. For this purpose He endured many sufferings, giving His body over to death and buying our ransom from slavery so that He, coming to our Soul, might make His abode there.”


Love your brethren

“If we keep remembering the wrong which men have done us, we destroy the power of the rememberance of God.”

“Christians 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.”

“The Apostles, being themselves light, administered light to those who believed, enlightening their hearts with that Heavenly Light of the Spirit by which they were themselves enlightened.”

“If an enemy should fall upon you, you need only say, ‘Lord, have mercy!’ The Lord knows that which is useful for us, and grants us mercy.”

“If you rebuke someone and do it with anger, you have allowed a passion to control you. You have not saved anyone and have destroyed yourself.”

Once a girl accused Saint Macarius the Great of fathering her child. Not protesting he was beaten almost to death by her family and villagers and they forced him to support her. Saint Macarius told himself “Macarius, you have found yourself a wife; you must work harder in order to keep her.” For some period he made baskets and sold them and gave her the money. When it was time for the girl to give birth, she was in great pain and could not deliver the baby until she confessed that Saint Macarius was innocent. The saint then fled from the ashamed villagers to escape praise and flattery.


Asceticism

“When we bravely and quietly endure the afflictions sent to us, we participate a little, albeit not fully, in the sufferings of Christ.”

“Until we become broken through temptations and sorrow, we will not know our own infirmities and humble ourselves before God.”

“Just as the blessings of God are unutterably great, so their acquisition requires much hardship and toil undertaken with hope and faith.”

“Christians have a glory and a beauty and a Heavenly wealth which is beyond words, and it is won with pains, and sweat, and trials, and many conflicts, and all by the Grace of God.”

“Each person, in their thoughts, must engage in the struggle against evil so that Christ may shine in the heart.”

“In those afflictions and sufferings, in that patience and faith, are hidden the promises, and the glory, and the restitution of the good things of Heaven”

“Most men wish to obtain the Kingdom without trouble, or pains, or sweat, and that is a thing impossible.”

“A Christian man has a twofold warfare set before him, an inward and an outward, the latter, in withdrawing from Earthly distractions; the former, in the heart against the suggestions of the spirits of wickedness.”

“Those who haven’t achieved perfection continue to fight an inner war. For a while they find relief in Prayer, but at another time they’re battling away in sorrow.”

“Whatever passion a man does not bravely war against, is an object of his affection; and it holds him fast, and weighs him down, and becomes to him a hindrance and a fetter, preventing his mind from going up to God and pleasing Him, and from serving Him only and thereby proving fit for the Kingdom and obtaining Eternal Life.”

“Where the will is not present, even God Himself does nothing, though He could, because of man’s freedom. The effectual working of God depends upon the will of man. On the other hand, if we give our whole will, He ascribes to us the whole work.”

“Thus, while you are neglecting yourself and hardly taking stock of yourself, the evil spirits enter into you and destroy and lay barren your mind, dissipating your thoughts on things of this world”

“This is the mark of Christianity – however much a man toils, and however many righteousnesses he performs, to feel that he has done nothing, and in fasting to say, ‘This is not fasting’ and in Praying, ‘This is not Prayer,’ and in perseverance at Prayer, ‘I have shown no perseverance; I am only just beginning to practice and to take pains’, and even if he is righteous before God, he should say, ‘I am not righteous, not I; I do not take pains, but only make a beginning every day.'”

“For the Lord demands of you that you be angry with yourself and engage in battle with your mind, neither consenting to nor taking pleasure in wicked thoughts. The uprooting of sin and the evil that is so embedded in our sinning can be done only by Divine power. For it is impossible and outside man’s competence to uproot sin. To struggle, yes, to continue to fight, to inflict blows and to receive setbacks is in your power. To uproot, however, belongs to God alone. If, indeed, you could have done it on your own, what would have been the need for the coming of the Lord? For just as an eye cannot see without light, just as one cannot speak without a tongue, nor hear without ears, nor walk without feet, nor carry out ones works without hands, so you cannot be saved, nor enter into the Kingdom of Heaven without Jesus.”

“When they’d suffered many tortures and had shown endurance unto death, the Holy Martyrs became worthy of crowns and glory. The more cruel the tortures they underwent, the more glory and boldness they acquired before God. In the same way, and provided they were patient to the end and didn’t complain, Souls that were subjected to great sorrows, (either from other people or from bodily diseases), were also rewarded with the same crowns and glory as the Martyrs. And such people will not only enjoy all this in the future, from God, but even here they’ll be granted the consolation of the Holy Spirit. Since the path leading to Heavenly life is, indeed, narrow and full of sorrows, and there are few who walk it, this is why, for the sake of the hope of Heaven, we should withstand with steadfast patience every trial of the evil one. The sufferings of this time can in no way be compared to the glory that will be given to us.”

“I implore you, my brothers, let the things you yearn for be things that lead to Salvation and the preservation of your Souls so you won’t put off something one day for the next and so spend two days as strangers to the good things of God.”

Saint Macarius was asked by a pilgrim how to find salvation in the world. He told the man to go to the cemetery and insult dead people who were buried there. This he did and then returned to the Saint. The Saint then told him to return to the cemetery and sing the praises of those who were buried there. This he did and returned. The Saint then asked the pilgrim: “What did the dead people do when you insulted them?” “Why, nothing, of course, Holy Father,” the man replied. Saint Macarius continued, “What did the dead people do when you praised them?” “Why, nothing, of course, Holy Father,” he replied again. “Go and do the same, and you will be saved. Be dead both to the praises and curses of men and you will obtain salvation.”


Our heart

“The heart is but a small vessel; and yet dragons and lions are there, and there likewise are poisonous creatures and all the treasures of wickedness; rough, uneven paths are there, and gaping chasms. There also is God, there are the Angels, there life and the Kingdom, there light and the Apostles, the Heavenly cities and the treasures of Grace: all things are there.”

“Within the heart is an unfathomable depth. There are reception rooms and bedchambers in it, doors and porches, and many offices and passages. In it is the workshop of righteousness and of wickedness. In it is death, in it is life…. The heart is Christ’s palace… There Christ the King comes to take His rest, with the Angels and the spirits of the saints, and He dwells there, walking within it and placing His Kingdom there.”

“This is purity of heart, when you see sinners or sick people, to have compassion on them and be tenderhearted towards them.”


One day a hyena came to Saint Macarius of Alexandria and pulled his garment. He followed her to her den, and it brought out her three young ones. He found that they were all malformed, and was amazed from the intelligence of the animal. He Prayed and put his hands on them, and they were healed. The hyena disappeared for a while, and she came back with a sheep skin which he used to sleep on until his departure.

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Abba Macarius said, ‘Walking in the desert one day, I found the skull of a dead man, lying on the ground. As I was moving it with my stick, the skull spoke to me. I said to it, “Who are you?” The skull replied, “I was high priest of the idols and of the pagans who dwelt in this place; but you are Macarius, the Spirit-bearer. Whenever you take pity on those who are in torments, and Pray for them, they feel a little respite.” The old man said to him, “What is this alleviation, and what is this torment?” He said to him, “As far as the sky is removed from the Earth, so great is the fire beneath us; we are ourselves standing in the midst of the fire, from the feet up to the head. It is not possible to see anyone face to face, but the face of one is fixed to the back of another. Yet when you Pray for us, each of us can see the other’s face a little. Such is our respite.” The old man in tears said, “Alas the day when that man was born!” He said to the skull, “Are there punishments which are more painful than this?” The skull said to him, “There is a more grievous punishment down below us.” The old man said, “Who are the people down there?” The skull said to him: “We have received a little mercy since we did not know God, but those who know God and denied Him are down below us.” Then, picking up the skull, the old man buried it.

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“As Abba Macarius was returning to his cell from the marsh carrying palm-leaves, the devil met him with a sharp sickle and would have struck him but he could not. He cried out, “Great is the violence I suffer from you, Macarius, for when I want to hurt you, I cannot. But whatever you do, I do and more also. You fast now and then, but I am never refreshed by any food; you often keep vigil, but I never fall asleep. Only in one thing are you better than I am and I acknowledge that.” Macarius said to him, “What is that?” and he replied, “It is because of your humility alone that I cannot overcome you.”

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“Lord, be merciful now that my life is approaching its end, and the evening awaits me. There is not enough time for me to cleanse myself of my sins, for they are so many. Heal me while I am still on Earth, and I shall be truly healthy. In Your mercy, move me to repent so that I shall not be ashamed when I meet you in Heaven.”

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On the day of his death a Cherubim appeared to him with a multitude of angels and said: “Arise, O follower of the Lord, and come with us into Eternal Life.” The Cherubim indicated to him the throngs of saints who had come out to meet him: “Behold the assembly of Apostles, behold the throng of Prophets, behold the multitude of Martyrs, behold the choir of Holy Hierarchs, fasters, monks and righteous men. Give unto me now your Soul, which I was commanded by God to preserve during its Earthly life.” With the words, “Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit,” Saint Makarios departed to the Lord.

“Brothers and Sisters, one day we will die.”

“Like the tax collectors who sit in the narrow roads and seize the passers-by and the oppressed, so also the demons watch carefully and grab hold of Souls. And when they pass out of the body, if they are not completely purified, they are not permitted to go up into the mansions of Heaven there to meet their Master. For they are driven down by the demons of the air.”

“When the Soul of a man departs from the body, a certain great mystery is there enacted. If a person is under the guilt of sin, bands of demons and fallen angels approach along with the powers of darkness which capture the Soul and drag it as a captive to their place. No one should be surprised by this fact. For if, while a man lived in this life, he was subject to them and was their obedient slave, how much more, when he leaves this world, is he captured and controlled by them?”


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