Monday, January 19, 2009

The History of Macarius, the Child of his Cross

Palladius speaks of a young shepherd named Macarius who had fled to the desert after accidentally committing a murder. After having lived near Macarius for a while, Palladius asked him whether he thought often of the murder. The monk replied, "I am entirely untroubled by it, for I am bound to confess that the sin of this involuntary murder was the good cause of the redemption of my life." (110) Macarius reminds Palladius that Moses had a similar episode in his own youth.

Macarius always prayed with his hands outstretched in the form of the Cross, and he eventually died standing in prayer in this fashion. Those who found him were unable to bring his hands back to his body, so they "dug his grave in the form of a cross and laid him in it." (110)

Palladius, grieved at Macarius' death, hears in a dream a voice consoling him:

"Inasmuch as during his lifetime he loved the cross, which he bore through his good works, in it also he shall have his rest; in the form of that which he desired longingly hath he been buried, and in the same form shall he stand up at the right hand on the day of Christ." (111)

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