A novice went to Abbot Macarius seeking advice about the best way to please the Lord.
– Go to the cemetery and insult the dead – said Macarius.
The brother did as he was told. The following day, he returned to Macarius.
– Did they respond? – asked the abbot.
The novice said no, they didn’t.
– Then go to them and praise them.
The novice obeyed. That same afternoon, he returned to the abbot, who again wished to know whether the dead had responded.
– No – said the novice.
– In order to please the Lord, behave as they do – said Macarius.
“Pay no heed to the insults of men, nor to their praise; in this way, you shall forge your own path.”