An unmarried girl became pregnant. She falsely accused the hermit Macarius of raping her. The whole village became furious with the hermit. The mob came to him insulting him, beating him and mocking at him. An elderly man who tried to calm the people was also insulted by the mob. Finally, the father of the girl asked that they would not release the hermit until the hermit assured them that he would be responsible for the expenses of her labor and that he would support her and the child.
The hermit returned to his cave half-dead. He used to speak to himself saying, "Work hard Macarius, because you now have a wife and a child. You’ve to work day and night for your needs and theirs." He actually worked hard making woven baskets, which his disciple sold to pay for all the needs of the pregnant girl.
When her time came to give birth to the baby, she stayed several days in labor. They told her that if this state continued she might die before giving birth to the child.
The girl was obliged to confess saying, "I’m suffering because I falsely accused the hermit of raping me. The hermit is innocent, but such a person tempted me and I sinned with him."
The relatives of the girl felt very sad that they accused an innocent man. The girl's family together with the villagers went to ask forgiveness from the saint. When his disciple heard that; he was very happy and he rushed to tell him the news.
As soon as the saint heard the news he ran away to the Natroon valley. He fled from false praises. St. Macarius did not flee from his false accusers but he fled from their praises. Nothing destroys the life of a person more than him waiting to listen to the praises of others.
You might ask how could I tolerate being unjustly accused? St John Chrysostom answers, "If someone accused you of adultery, tell yourself, "I did not commit adultery, but in my youth I had a lot of thoughts of desire. I should consider his accusation as a chastisement for me."
Lord help me to withstand the words of praise,
Many have fallen because of them.
Make me happy when people denounce me,
Then I will share You in bearing them.
The Blessed Tailor
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