St. Macrina, a great Christian teacher, showed her own mother how to live a life of asceticism and meditation—a life that her brother, St. Gregory of Nyssa, describes as being little different from the life of the angels.
When the cares of bringing up a family and the anxieties of their educa- tion and settling in life had come to an end, and the property—a frequent cause of worldliness—had been for the most part divided among the children, then, as I said earlier, the life of the virgin became her mother’s guide and led her on to this philosophic and spiritual manner of life.
Weaning her from all accustomed luxuries, Macrina drew her on to adopt her own standard of humility. She induced her to live on a footing of equality with the staff of maids, sharing with them in the same food, the same kind of bed, and in all the necessaries of life, without any regard to differences of rank.
Such was the manner of their life, so great the height of their philosophy, and so holy their conduct day and night, that it cannot be described in words. Just as souls freed from the body by death are saved from the cares of this life, so was their life far removed from all earthly follies and arranged with a view of imitating the angelic life. No anger or jealousy, no hatred or pride, was observed in their midst, nor anything else of that sort, since they had cast away all vain desires for honor and glory, all vanity, arrogance, and so on. Continence was their luxury, and obscurity their glory. Poverty, and throwing away useless luxuries like dust from their bodies, was their wealth. Nothing was left but the care of divine things and the unceasing round of prayer.
Living in the body and yet in the same way as of the immaterial beings, they were not bowed down by the weight of the body, but their life was exalted to the skies, and they walked on high in company with the powers of Heaven. –St. Gregory of Nyssa, Life of St. Macrina
IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
Are there material things that keep me from being as close to God as I should be— living as the angels do—things that I could easily do without?
Lord, one day you will take again what you have given, transfiguring with immortality and grace our mortal and unsightly remains. Give me an angel of light to conduct me to the place of refreshment, where is the water of rest, in the bosom of the holy Fathers.
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