The life of Macrina was a hagiographic of letters written by Gregory of Nyssa after the death of his sister Macrina. The letters were addressed to the Monk Olympus which was giving the accounts of Macrina as a Christian woman and her family. The letters have critical information that pertained to the early Christian religious life.
Macrina was the eldest child of Basil and Emmelia. She devoted her self to religion by becoming a nun after the death of her intended bridegroom. She was a Holy woman who did instruct young women religiously, and thus she was honored as the most prominent nun of the Eastern Church. Her ascetic adherence had a profound influence to her brothers, which led Gregory to write about the life of Macrina which he described her sanctity of her entire life. She had built a monastery and a convent in their family estate in Pontus with the help of her brother peter. Macrina was born to a noble family and named Thecla because of her mothers dream before she was delivered; this was after the companion of Saint Paul to the virgin martyr.
She was taught to read with the Holy Scripture which led her to seek the Word of God as her Guidance where she found consolation and joy. Her beauty was surprisingly attracting, and a suitor was selected so that they would marry when they attain the marriageable age, but her-to be bridegroom died before he married her. This has the explanation that the taking of her fiance to the eternal habitation from the transitory world was the will of God who has power over all things. Macrina chose never to marry to another person devoting herself to the way of God as she never considered as binding betrothal. It was through the Wisdom of God that she explained to her parent that as there is only one life and death that the marriage should be one.
She had the inspiration of resurrection of her brother was not dead, but was alive in God contenting to His will, which was to, guide to the different paths of her life (Fitzgerald, 2004). Macrina ever considered any work deeming as she used to work with the servants hand in, and this turned them to be sisters. Her mother, who nurtured her in the virtues of Christianity, is now being led to the spiritual life by her daughter. She convinced her mother not to mourn her son’s death as it was the practice for those who did not have hope. This was a reliever as they endured the suffering of the loss with courageous hearts her desire to be wholly devoted to God increasingly detached her from the rest of the world. And she persuaded her mother to the path of the monastic.
Macrina’s rejection of the cultural life of the non Christians and her contemporaries has the border indication of the cultural response to that of the secular society. They did advance to the virtual of fasting regarding food and poverty as riches, and were never spoiled by anger, jealous and pride of their harmony. They were little separated by the physical body to the life of the angels. Her monastery did not survive to the full accounts she had exercised with her brother, but she was credited by her brother, for she did bring Brasil to the monastic life. Gregory gives the last account of their conversation on the soul and resurrection where it argues that it is the foolishness and the misunderstandings that are the cause of grief of the beloved ones death which has the tendency of outweighing those that are left in the world.
This is the failure of comprehension that only the fresh that passes away; only the body that is dissolved at death because it is composite. The body is insensate and it only lies on the grave, but the soul remains as sensate as it acknowledges everything that it knew when it lived with the body which it derived from the experiences of the body, and what was known by the soul which can contemplate God and it will be like God so far as it sees the beauty of him. Theflourishing of asceticism was due to the Christian community rejecting the life of secularism, as it was interpreted through the understanding of Christians. The early Christians had responded negatively to the Romans secular way of life with the formation of an identity that did reject the non Christianity teaching and societal norms, t5hat led to the emergence of the Christian philosophy of spirituality. The philosophy of Christianity did adhere to the principles of ascetics which was the way of expressing the virtue of Godliness.
This led to the formation of monastic’s dedicated to the living of religious lives (Keck, 2003). Macrina is instructed to the divinely inspired scriptures in every thing which was comprehensible with the emphasis of the wisdom books. This was what Macrina embraced as it is called by Gregory as philosophic ideal through the means of her own life and inspiration to her mother to adapt a detached existence from the material things. Even her brothers did adapt to the life of philosophy which is an understood as an expression of an outward divine inspiration. Through the writing of Gregory to Naucratios that the divine providence was the one that led him to despise all the material things he had with the sudden inspiration to go to the way of solitude and poverty, this depicts the understanding of the world solitude but not from one another as Christians drew together as a community due to the rejection of secularism thus the sharing of the asceticism principles. The early Christianity had common, basic principles which included the way they believed in the material things rejection; the self rejection, thus, glorifying suffering, which led to the establishment of communities of which they practiced these principles.
Gregory wrote that the Christian self indulgence was to instill self- discipline and for their fame to remain unknown as their wealth was to be poor. At the recording of this account, the Christians had formed the monastic communities which had been divided by the ideals of the gender. The visiting of Macrina before her death is referred to the woman who lived with the women who had adopted the life of chastity and learning to live to life of virtue.The death of St. Brasil led Gregory to visit his sister Macrina at the convent where she was the abbess to sought consolation upon his brother’s loss only to find death beckoning to her sister. Her they had a discussion that concerned immortality of the soul and the resurrection actually raised his spirits.
Macrina presented clear understanding of Christianity that concerned immortality of the soul and the resurrection. These ideas are the Holy writs that have to be accepted to be divine commands as the soul do lack assurances that come by reasoning these issues. This makes one firmly stand to their faith and not to be distraught by the bodily departures. The Christian hope is reasoned out by the philosophical understanding that the Holy writ is the authoritative Christianity theology source, and the human is enlightened by the supplement of the Holy Spirit. Thus, reason is the hand maiden that buttress the faith when it waivers.
The anxiety of Gregory concerns the doubts of the immortality of the soul as he saw it as dissolving together with the body and whether the soul is of the same nature as the body can not exist without a place to be. Macrina defined the nature and the sensation as the means to knowing the nature of the soul, as she believed that the nature of the spiritual blindness was through the exclusion of the intellectual realities that are only recognized and known to the mind. This depicts that those that are small souled do not have the ability of perceiving things to their deep realities becoming walls that obscure the intellectual things vision. They only see the universe elements without infer from the skillful designs in them thatt there is an invisible designer. Thus, the design of the universe and the harmony of its visibility have the proclamation of its maker. When one transcends his mare senses he can intellectually perceive the wise and the skillful divinity that created and maintains all things.
The existence of God thus implies the existence of the soul and man is described to be a microcosm of the universe this sense helps to see the universe reality and intellectual way where one finds a place to understand more about the soul, and thus the invisible is inferred by the visible. This is the confirmation of Christianity that the existence of the soul is by itself with a nature different from the body’s solidity. The soul is thus, an intellectual, immaterial, bodiless, living and invisible working on its on the nature and revealing its self through the body organs as the arrangement of thing is always seen in the body and the corpse, and in regard to the corpse, the soul is said to be immobile and inactive. The perceptions of the organs are the one that do activate the activities of the soul and moves the perception of the body to its own voluntary impulses. The sensation of humans, therefore, do reveal the indwelling, effective and intellectual of the presence of the soul, upon which St Macrina defined it to be; the essence that has a beginning; it is a living and intellectual essence which by itself gives to the organic and sensory power of life and the reception of sense impressions as long as the nature which can receive these maintains its existence (Fitzgerald, 2004).
The capacity of intellectual definition of the realities that are invisible to the sense infers to what is conferred to conform to the definition. The citation of Macrina the mind is the one that hears and sees has the support to this notion. The issue of the human locomotion has led them to make machines through the art of arrangement. This contraption of Macrina furthers the evidence of the invincible and the intellectual of the soul that someone had to effect. This is prove that, in a man, there is the mind that is beyond the visible as it devises things that the concept through the assistance of the material making it. Macrina rejected the notion that the soul is the same as the essence of divine and pets it that the soul is like the divine, as it was create in the image of the divine essence, and thus the soul is an image that is the same to the archetype to all things.
The image could not have been the same if it had the same things in respect to all. The smallness of its nature has the reflection of the divine nature properties. This analogy teaches that due to the ineffable wisdom of God that is always manifested in the universe, that there is confidence that the divine nature and His power are in everything has to exist, and to remain in existence. The nature of the divine is different from the thing created, but this does not prevent God to be in existence in all that he created. Thus, the difference of the soul simplicity and invisibility, and the solidity of the body does not does not prevent the soul from living in it, although it is difficult to understand how this is the case, incredibly that it is the case.
Macrina acknowledged that the faculties are recognized as to appear in the soul as most people ere in doubt concerning their issue forming unstable opinions. She went far from the philosophical speculation of the soul in the affirmation of the Holy writ as the rule of the doctrine. The rejection of Plato’s analogy of the charioteer is the guide to unequal steeds. The assertion that, the soul is an image in the essence of the divine does not attribute the soul that which is not proper to the divine. Thus, when distinguishing the essence of anything there is a need to focus on its uniqueness to it and the characteristics shared with others in nature.