Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wisdom from St. Macarius the Great

St. Macarius was once asked by a pilgrim how to find salvation in the world. He told the man to go to the cemetery and insult the dead people who were buried there. This he did and 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?”

Skulls of monks at Mount Athos

“Why, nothing, of course, Holy Father,” the man replied.

St. 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.”

--From Ascending the Heights: A Layman’s Guide to the Divine Ascent (St. John Climacus of the Egyptian Desert), by Father John Mack (Conciliar Press, 1999). Pointed out to me by Father Richard Armstrong,


  1. Hello Kenton,

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  2. I love this blog sir - I am featuring it on tomorrow for the Byzantine edition.

    Many thanks for posting this!

    Your humble servant in Christ,
    Jason @ Ascending Mount Carmel & Big Pulpit