The Feast of St. Macrina
By Jackie O’Neal
Today marks the Church’s celebration of the Feast of St. Macrina, the younger. In many ways, she serves as an inspiring model and pioneer of women’s independent and religious life.
Born in 340, she was the eldest child in a family of saints. The sister of two great saints, St. Basil and St. Gregory of Nyssa. Although she was gifted with a sharp intellect, her father insisted she marry and went ahead to arrange preparations for her wedding, however her fiance strangely died just before the wedding leaving St. Macrina to become a nun and consecrated widow.
Like St. Francis who was well cared for by his family and lived comfortably, but later renounced his wealth,St. Macrina abandoned the idea of having wealth, and instead became determined to convince her parents to help her in her mission to establish a monastery on the family estate where she would care for the poor and neglected.
St. Macrina by her example, teaches each of us to heed the words of our Lord Christ and rely on him for all things: “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
She needed the courage to go forward with her plans to do God’s work, and knew without Christ, her burdens would be impossible to bear. You see, St. Macrina had a heart for caring for the poor and believed so strongly in entrusting all her weighty matters to the Lord, so He endowed her with the grace and strength to physically lift and carry malnourished women she found lying unconscious on the road, and carry them back to the monastery to recover and rest.
The women were so moved by the compassion and charity St. Macrina so graciously demonstrated that some of them stayed on and joined the monastery dedicating their lives to Christ.
Without Christ, all of our burdens whatever they may be; unemployment, illness, separation from loved ones can seem so impossibly heavy, we feel impeded from moving forward.
When we wallow in self-pity and complain when things appear not to be going well for us, we are not listening to what the Lord is inviting us to do: Surrender all our burdens to Him.
Sometimes it can seem easier to feel sorry for ourselves, but that is not God’s intention for us.
“Take my yoke upon you, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light,”: in other words, the Lord never intended for us to be a “beast of burden”, an ox with yoke to small to fit around its thick body as we easily can become while overwhelmed with problems and worries weighing heavily on our hearts.
Take His yoke which is "the perfect fit" and will help make your load easier to carry.
St. Macrina believed, too much wealth created an attachment and a heavy burden, so she renounced it altogether and convinced her brothers to do the same, so St. Basil, and St. Gregory became monks.
Now, she did not think that wealth in and of itself was evil, but the attachment to it created a spiritual and emotional burden.
In the modern world, it is not hard to become beset with consumerism and mounting debt and through this experience can become worn down by an all-consuming desire for more, and more accumulation of –things.
Excess breeds more excess in a vicious cycle.
God did not intend for us to have need of anything except Him, and the need to love and praise and Him as St. Macrina and her family of saints did.
We serve and love a God who lifts our every burden and makes all our crooked paths straight, and reminds us every day to surrender all our burdens to Him, who is more than capable of taking care of us better than we could ever care for ourselves.