You Will Restore Again

From The Life of St. Macrina (379)

Macrina no longer spoke to us who were present, but to that One alone, upon whom she held her eyes intently. Her bed had been turned toward the easy, and she stopped conversing with us and addressed herself to God, and this was her prayer.

“Lord, you have releases us from the fear of death. You have made the end of life here on earth the beginning of true life for us. For a little while you will let our bodies rest in sleep, and then you will wake them again from their sleep at the last trumpet. You give back to the earth for safekeeping our bodies of death which you have made with your own hands, and you will restore again what you have given, transforming with incorruptibility and grace that which is mortal and formless in us. You redeemed us from the curse and from sin, having taken both upon yourself. You have crushed the heads of the serpent that had seized us with diabolical jaws in the abyss of our disobedience. When you had shattered the gates of hell and reduced to impotence the one who ruled over death, you have opened for us the path to resurrection. To those whose fear you have given a visible token, the sign of the holy cross, for the destruction of the enemy and the protection of our life.

“O God eternal, you have been my refuge ever since I left my mother’s womb. My soul has loved you with all its strength. I have consecrated my body and soul to you from infancy up to this very moment. Set before me a shining angel who will lead me by the hand to the place of refreshment, where there is water of repose beside the dwelling of the holy ones. You who broke the flaming sword and restored to paradise the thief who was crucified with you and sought your mercy, remember me also in your kingdom, for I too have been crucified with you, and the nails have pierced my flesh out of reverence for you and fear of your judgments.

“Let not the dreadful abyss separate me from your chosen ones. Let not the slanderer stand in my way nor my sins be discovered before your eyes, if out of the weakness of human nature I have fallen, and sinned in word or deed or thought. You who have the power on earth to forgive sins, forgive me, that I may have breath again and may stand before you without stain or blemish in the form of my soul once I am divested of my body. May my soul be received in your hands, blameless and spotless, as an offering of incense in your sight.”

As she spoke this prayer, she traced the sign of the cross on her eyes, her mouth, and her heart, and with this prayer she died.

St. Gregory Nazianzus (329-390) was among the most influential theologians and orators of the early church, and is ranked among the four great doctors of the Eastern Church. An uncompromising champion of the Nicene Faith, he went to Constantinople in 379, aiming to reconvert the city to orthodoxy, and was made its archbishop. He led the Second Ecumenical Council in 381, which affirmed the full divinity of the Holy Spirit. His Life of St. Macrina is an account of the death of his elder sister, who lived a consecrated life as leader of convent. Gregory is commemorated on January 2 by most Anglican churches and the Roman Catholic Church, and on January 25 by the Orthodox churches.  


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