Friday, June 12, 2015

More Excerpts from the June Newsletter

Venerable Macarius' Miracle of the Moose
During the invasion of Russia by the Khan Olug Moxammat of Kazan in 1439, Zheltovodsky (Yellow Lake) Monastery of Holy Trinity was destroyed. Venerable Macarius, the founder of the monastery, was taken prisoner along with a few other survivors. After meeting with Macarius, the khan was so impressed by the nonagenarian abbot's piety and love of his neighbor, that he released him and his disciples, on the condition that they leave the Yellow Lake site.
The Yellow Lake (which was located at the fall of the Kerzhenets into the Volga) being too perilously close to the invasion route taken by the Kazan Khanate armies invading Russian principalities and vice versa, the released survivors decided to relocate a few hundred kilometers to the north, into the fastness of the Galich forests, which are located along the Unzha River in what today is Kostroma Oblast. Taking the easy route along the Volga would not be a safe thing to do in this year of war; so the Saint and his followers choose to travel through the dense woodlands and swamps of the Kerzhenets basin — the land which is even today is almost deserted by people.
After a few days of travel, the monks ran out of food. One day they somehow managed to capture a moose[1] (some later sources say that the moose had been trapped "at a narrow place", perhaps between trees[2]). The followers of Macarius wanted to slaughter and eat the animal. But as this was the time of the Fast of the Holy Apostles, Venerable Macarius prohibited them to do that. Instead, he told them to cut off the moose's right ear and to release the animal. He told them that they only need to wait for three days, until the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, and the moose will be theirs. "Don't be aggrieved", said Macarius, " but pray to the Lord. He who fed the people of Israel in the desert with manna for 40 years, can also feed you these days in a manner invisible. Have a strong faith in Him who fed five thousand people, not counting women and children, with five loaves and two fish!"
For the next three days of the fast the travellers marched along without fatigue. No one died of starvation; no one even felt hunger or thought of food. On the Feast day of Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, Venerable Macarius went away from his companions and praised the Lord, praying to Him that His people may be fed as had been the people of Israel in the desert or the five thousand people in the days of Apostles. When Macarius returned to his brethren, they saw the moose with no right ear approaching them. And this time, the animal was not wild: it behaved as if it was tame.
After the dinner of bonfire-roasted venison, the travellers praised the Lord for His great kindness. Venerable Macarius told his companions not to worry about food anymore, but rely on God Who will give them food and everything else they need.
The Life of Venerable Macarius does not tell us whether everyone who had left the Yellow Lake with him reached the Unzha alive. But it is said that God had protected them from hunger and from wild beasts during their travel, delivering moose, deer, and other game into their hands.

+ St. Theophan the Recluse, Thoughts for Each Day of the Year

The Lord chose the apostles, that they should be with Him, and that he might send them forth to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils.
Every Christian is chosen—chosen for similar deeds, namely: to be with the Lord, through unceasing remembrance of Him and awareness of His omnipresence, through the preaching and fulfillment of His commandments, and through a readiness to confess one’s faith in Him. In those circles where such a confession is made, it is a loud sermon for all to hear.

Every Christian has the power to heal infirmities—not of others, but his own, and not of the body, but of the soul—that is, sins and sinful habits—and to cast out devils, rejecting evil thoughts sown by them, and extinguishing the excitement of passions enflamed by them.
Do this and you will be an apostle, a fulfiller of what the Lord chose you for, an accomplisher of your calling as messenger. When at first you succeed in all this, then perhaps the Lord will appoint you as a special ambassador—to save others after you have saved yourself; and to help those who are tempted, after you yourself pass through all temptations, and through all experiences in good and evil.But your job is to work upon yourself: for this you are chosen; the rest is in the hands of God. He who humbles himself shall be exalted.

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