Friday, March 20, 2020

A Warning to Those Who Abstain from Holy Communion for Five Weeks in a Row

St. Makarios the Great of Egypt (Feast Day - January 19)

By Palladius, Bishop of Helenopolis

(Lausiac History, Ch. 17 - Makarios of Egypt)

A certain Egyptian, enamored of a lady married to a husband, and being unable to seduce her, consulted a magician, saying: "Lead her to love me, or contrive that her husband reject her." And the magician having received a sufficient sum, used magic spells and arranged for her to take the form of a horse. The husband having come in and seen her was surprised that a horse lay on his bed. He wept and lamented; he talked to the animal, but received no reply. He called in the priests of the village. He brought them in, showed her to them, but they did not discover what happened.

During three days she neither took fodder as a horse nor bread as a human being, thus deprived of both forms of nourishment. Finally, that God might be glorified and the virtue of the holy Makarios appear, it entered into her husband's heart to take her into the desert. And having put a halter on her as upon a horse, he led her into the desert. When they came near, the brethren stood by the cell of Makarios, struggling with the woman's husband and saying: "Why did you bring this horse here?" He said to them: "That she may receive mercy." They said to him: "What is the matter?" The husband answered them: "She was my wife and was turned into a horse, and today is the third day that she has tasted nothing."

They referred the matter to the saint, who was praying within. For God had revealed the matter to him and he was praying for her. The holy Makarios therefore answered the brethren and said to them: "You are horses, since you have the eyes of horses. For she is a woman and has not been transformed, except in the eyes of deluded men." And he blessed water, and pouring it from the head downwards on to her bare skin he prayed. And immediately he made her appear to all as a woman. Then giving her food he made her eat and sent her away with her husband thanking the Lord. And he advised her thus: "Never give up the church, never stay away from Communion. For these things happened to you because you did not attend the mysteries for five weeks."