The Departure of St. Macarius of Alexandria
On this day also of the year 395 A.D., the blessed father St. Macarius of Alexandria departed. He was a contemporary of St. Macarius the great (Senior), the father of the monks, and for this reason, he was called St. Macarius, the Junior. He became a monk at one of the monasteries near by Alexandria. For his asceticism, he became the father and the spiritual guide for all the monk's cells in the area that near by Alexandria, so he was also called the father of the cells.
He practiced many worships and possessed many virtues in his ascetic life. Among these practices, he once stayed for five days with his thoughts in heaven, occupied with early Saints, prophets, angels, apostles and the Lord Christ, while he was standing on his sleeping mat. After two nights, the devils started to scratch his feet, twisting themselves as snakes around his feet. They also showed him fire in his cell, however with patience, the fire and the phantoms disappeared. On the fifth day, he could not control his thoughts with regards to the needs of life. This happened so that he would not become proud of what he had spiritually achieved. He said to himself: "I have remained in the ascetic life for 50 years, and they had not been like these five days."
After he had managed the schools of those were seeking to be baptized, he lived alone (Recluse) in the year 335 A.D. in el-Natroun desert, where he became the abbot of all the monasteries in this desert.
It happened that he walked in the desert for several days in unpaved road, and was placing sticks of reed during the way to help him recognize the way to come back. When he wanted to return, he found the devil had removed all the sticks to mislead him. When he became thirsty, God sent him a wild cow, and he drank from its milk, until he returned to his cell.
One day a hyena came to him 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.
At one time, the thoughts of pride disturbed him until he was weary of it. These thoughts invited him to come to Rome to heal the sick there, instead of them suffering the travel to him. He slept in his cell, and extended his feet outside the cell, and said to his thoughts: "You can travel now if you can." When his thoughts went on disturbing him, he carried on his shoulder a basket full of sand, and walked in the desert until he became physically tired, the thoughts of pride left him, and he rested.
Once, he went to the monastery of St. Pachomius in a layman's garment, and stayed there during the forty days of Lent. No one saw him eating or sitting down. He was making baskets of palm leaves while he was standing. The monks said to St. Pachomius: "Cast out this man from here, for he is not human." He asked them to be patient until God reveals his story to them. St. Pachomius inquired of God about him, and God told him that he was St. Macarius of Alexandria. They were all happy to hear that, they welcomed him and received his blessings. When he found that his virtues have been revealed, he returned to his monastery.
It happened that it did not rain for some time in Alexandria, and the Patriarch called him. When he arrived to Alexandria, the rain started to fall, and it continued to rain until they asked him to stop it. He prayed and God stopped it.
Emperor Valens exiled him with St. Macarius the great to one of the islands. They guided its people to the Christian faith, and then they returned to their monasteries.
He considered that the virtue that was revealed and became known to everyone, was rendered useless. When he heard that someone had a virtue that he did not have, he practiced this virtue until he mastered it more than him.
He completed his life in a good spiritual conduct until he reached a good old age, and departed in peace.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
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