Macarius was an Egyptian and one of the younger contemporaries of Anthony the Great. His father was a priest. Out of obedience to his parents, Macarius married. However, his wife died shortly thereafter and he withdrew to the wilderness, where he spent sixty years in labor and struggle, both inwardly and outwardly, for the Kingdom of Heaven.
When they asked him why he was so thin, both when he ate and when he did not eat, he responded: "From the fear of God." So much did he succeed in cleansing his mind of evil thoughts and his heart of evil desires, that God bestowed upon him the abundant gift of miracle-working, so that he even raised the dead from the graves.
His humility amazed both men and demons. A demon once said to him: "There is only one thing in which I am unable to surpass you. It is not in fasting, for I do not eat anything. It is not in vigils, for I never sleep." "But what is it?" asked Macarius. "Your humility," answered the demon. Macarius often told Paphnutius, his disciple: "Do not judge anyone, and you will be saved."
Macarius lived to be ninety-seven years old. Nine days before his death, St. Anthony and St. Pachomius appeared to him from the other world and informed him that he would die within nine days; and it came to pass. Before his death, Macarius also had a vision in which a Cherubim revealed to him the blessed heavenly world, commended his effort and his virtue, and told him that he had been sent to take his soul into the Kingdom of Heaven. Macarius reposed in the year 390 A.D.