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The Paradise Of The Holy Fathers Volumes 1 and 2 by Saint Athanasius Of Alexandria

ON one occasion when Rabbâ was sitting with a number of the other brethren in a certain place in the monastery, [he was told that] one of the monks in the monastery used to make two mats of plaited palm leaves daily and that day he placed them in front of his cell, opposite the place where Rabbâ was then sitting with the brethren. Now he did this because he was [unduly] exalted with the thought of vainglory, and he believed that he would be praised for such assiduity, because the rule [of the fathers] was that each monk should make one mat daily. And Rabbâ perceived that the monk did this for the purpose of making a display, and he understood the intention which was stirring in the man and moving him; and he sighed heavily and said unto the brethren who were sitting with him, “See ye this man who toileth from morning to evening? He hath endowed Satan with all his labour, and hath left nothing whatsoever of his work for the comfort of his own soul. He hath toiled overmuch for the praise of the children of men, and he hath not worn out his body with all this work for the sake of God, and his soul is empty of work through the pleasure of him that doeth it, for he hath loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” Then he called that brother, and rebuked him, and charged him to stand up behind the brethren when they were praying, and to hold the two mats, and to say to them, “O my brethren, I beseech you to pray for my degraded soul, in order that through your prayers God may shew abundant mercy to it, for I have held these mats in greater honour than His kingdom.” And he also commanded that the man should stand up with the mats among the brethren when they were sitting at meat until they rose up from the table; and he commanded likewise that after this he should be confined to his cell for a period of five months, and should make two mats daily, and should eat bread and salt only, and that no man should visit him.








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