Lives of Saints - St. Macrina the Younger Christianity - Books
Don't be anxious for your life, what you will eat, nor yet for your body, what you will wear.                Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.                Consider the ravens: they don't sow, they don't reap, they have no warehouse or barn, and God feeds them. How much more valuable are you than birds!                Which of you by being anxious can add a cubit to his height?                If then you aren't able to do even the least things, why are you anxious about the rest?                Consider the lilies, how they grow. They don't toil, neither do they spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.                But if this is how God clothes the grass in the field, which today exists, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith?                Don't seek what you will eat or what you will drink; neither be anxious.                For the nations of the world seek after all of these things, but your Father knows that you need these things.                But seek God's Kingdom, and all these things will be added to you.               
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St. Macrina the Younger

St. Macrina (c.327-79) was the oldest of ten children of St. Basil the Elder and St. Emmelia, and was born at Caesarea in Cappadocia. She was educated by her mother, who both taught her to read and exercised vigilance over how she used that accomplishment. At the age of twelve she was betrothed, but her fiancé died suddenly. After this, although very beautiful, she refused all other suitors and devoted herself to a Christian life. Initially she educated her brothers and sisters. St. Basil the Great, St. Peter of Sebastea, St. Gregory of Nyssa and the rest learned from her contempt of the world, dread of its dangers, and application to prayer and the word of God; St. Gregory relates how St. Basil returned from Athens University as a very conceited young man, and his sister taught him humility; while to St. Peter, the youngest, she was 'father, teacher, guide, mother, giver of good advice', for their father died just as he was born. St. Basil the Great then established his mother and St. Macrina on an estate by the river Iris in Pontus, and there they were joined by other women in an ascetic communal life.

After the death of St. Emmelia, St. Macrina disposed of all her property in favour of the poor, and lived on what she earned by the labour of her hands. St. Basil the Great died in the beginning of 379 AD, and she fell ill nine months later. St. Gregory of Nyssa, making her a visit after eight years absence, found her sick, lying on two boards for her bed. Although she found it difficult to talk, her discussion of the future life was recorded by St. Gregory in On the Soul and the Resurrection. Her poverty was absolute and her preparation was death was complete. She died at the time of Vespers after praying, 'You have made the end of this life the beginning of true life. One day you will take again what you have given, transfiguring with grace and immortality our mortal and unsightly remains. May my soul be received into your hands, spotless and undefiled, as an offering before you'. She was buried amid widespread lamentation.


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