Catholic Encyclopedia
Church Fathers
Classics Library
Church Documents
Prayer Requests
Ray of Hope
Social Doctrine

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

183. ON one occasion certain brethren went to Abbâ Agathon, because they had heard that he took the greatest possible care that his mind should not be disturbed by anything, and they sought to try him, and to see if his mind would rise [to any matter]; and they said unto him, “Art thou indeed Agathon? We have heard that thou art a whoremonger and a boastful man.” And Agathon said unto them, “Yea, I am.” And again they said unto him, “Agathon, thou art a garrulous and talkative old man”; and he said unto them, “Indeed I am.” And again they said unto him, “Agathon, thou art a heretic”; and he said unto them, “I am not a heretic.” Then they said unto him, “Tell us now why in answer to all these things which we have said to thee thou hast replied, ‘Yea,’ and that thou hast endured them all with the exception of the accusation of being a heretic.” Abbâ Agathon said unto them, “The earlier things I accounted as profitable to my soul, but heresy meaneth separation from God, and I do not wish to be separated from God.” And when the brethren heard [these words] they marvelled at his solicitude, and went away rejoicing.

184. A certain father used to tell the story of a father who had a book wherein were the New Testament and the Old Testament, and the price thereof was more than eighteen darics, and he laid up the book in a hole in the wall; and there came a certain stranger and stayed there, and he coveted the book greatly, and stole it, and departed, but the old man did not go after him, although he knew that he had taken it. And the brother went to a neighbouring village and wished to sell the book, and he asked as its price sixteen darics, and the man who wanted to buy it said unto him, “Give it to me, that I may shew it [to a friend],” and he took it and carried it to the old man who had lost it. Then the old man said unto him, “How much doth he ask for it?” And when he heard how much he said to him, “It is well” (or “it is a good price”). Then the man went and said unto the brother who wished to sell the book, “Behold, I have shewn it to Father So-and-so, and he hath told me that thy price is dear.” And the brother answered and said unto him, “I did not tell thee anything to the contrary,” and the would-be buyer said, “No, thou didst not.” Said the brother, “I will not then sell thee the book,” and straightway he repented, and came to the old man and made excuses to him, and offered him the book, but the old man refused to accept it. And the brother entreated him, saying, “Allow me [to restore it to thee], O father, for if thou dost not accept it I cannot obtain life”; so the old man was entreated, and he took it, and that brother remained with him until his death, and through the patient endurance of the old man he gained life.

185. On one occasion certain philosophers came to the desert to try the monks. And there was living there a man who led a life of fair works, and they said unto him, “Come thou hither,” and his anger rose and he reviled them. Now there passed by a certain great monk who was a Libyan, and they said unto him, “O thou monk who hast grown greyheaded in iniquity, come hither”; and he went to them readily, and they smote him on one cheek, whereupon he turned the other to them. And when they saw this they rose up straightway and worshipped him, and they said, “Verily this is a monk”; then they set him in their midst, and asked him, saying, “What things do ye who are living in the desert do more than we? Ye fast, and we also fast; ye lead pure lives, and we also lead pure lives; whatsoever ye do we also do; what do ye who live in the desert do more than we?” The Libyan said unto them, “We keep watch over our minds”; and the philosophers said unto him, “We are unable to keep watch over our minds.”

186. They say that Abbâ Macarius the Egyptian on one occasion went up from Scete to the Nitrian mountain, and as he drew nigh unto a certain place, he said unto his disciple, “Pass on a little in front of me”; and when he had done so there met him a certain heathen priest, who was running along and carrying some wood about the time of noon. And that brother cried out to him and said, “O minister unto devils, whither runnest thou?” And the priest turned round and smote him with many severe blows, and he left him with but very little breath remaining in him, and he took up his wood and went on his way; and when he had gone on a little further the blessed Macarius met him on his journey, and said unto him, “Mayest thou be helped, O man of labours?” And the priest was astonished, and came to him and said, “What fair thing hast thou seen in me that thou shouldst salute me [in this gracious fashion]?” And the old man said unto him, “I see that thou toilest, and that thou dost not know that thou art toiling for naught”; then he said unto the old man, “At thy salutation I also was very sorry, and I learned that thou didst belong to the Great God. But a wicked monk met me just before thou didst, and he cursed me, and I smote him even unto death.” And the old man knew that it was his disciple [of whom he spake], and the priest laid hold upon the feet of Macarius, and said unto him, “I will not let thee [go] until thou makest me a monk”; and they came to the place where the brother was lying, and they carried him and brought him to the church of the mountain. Now when the fathers saw the heathen priest with him, they marvelled that he had been converted from the error which he had held; and Macarius took him and made him a monk, and through him many of the heathen became Christians. And Abbâ Macarius said, “ ‘An evil word maketh wicked even those who are good, and a good word maketh good even those who are wicked,’ as it is written.”

187. On one occasion thieves came to the cell of an old man, and said unto him, “We have come to take away everything which thou hast in thy cell”; and he said unto them, “My sons, take whatsoever ye please”; and they took everything which they saw in his cell and departed. Now they forgot [to take] a wallet which was hanging there, and the old man took it and ran after them, and entreated them, saying, “My sons, take this wallet which ye have left behind in your cell.” And when the thieves saw this they marvelled at the good disposition of the old man, and they gave back everything which they had taken from his cell, and they repented, and said to each other, “Verily, this man is a man of God.”

188. Abbâ Macarius the monk loved money so little that, on one occasion when thieves came to his cell by night, and took out whatsoever they could find in it, as soon as he perceived what they were doing, he helped them in their work and also to carry [their plunder] out of the desert.

189. They say that once when Abbâ Macarius was absent a thief entered his cell, and that when he returned and found a thief therein loading upon a camel everything which he had in his cell, he also went in and took some of the things and laid them on the camel; and when the thief had loaded the camel, he began to beat it in order to make it rise up, but it would not move. Now when Abbâ Macarius saw that the beast would not stand up, he took a basket which was remaining, and brought it out and laid it on the camel, and said, “The camel wisheth to carry off this also, O brother, and because of this it would not stand up.” Then the old man cried out to the camel, “Stand up,” and straightway, because of the old man’s words, it stood up; but when it had gone forward for a little it lay down again, and it would not rise up until the thief had emptied the whole of its load.

190. And another of the fathers when he was being plundered said unto the thieves, “Make haste, and be quick, before the brethren come.”

191. On one occasion when some men of iniquity, and doers of wickedness, and thieves, rose up against him on the eve of the day of the congregation, an old man said unto the brethren, “Let them do their work, and let us do ours.”

192. And when certain evil-doers rose up against one of the brethren in his cell, he brought forth a basin and entreated them to wash their feet, and the thieves were ashamed and repented.

193. And another brother who was travelling on a journey, and did not know the road, asked a man to shew him the way and to direct him; now the man whom he had asked was an evil-doer, and he led the brother out of his road into a waste place, and he made him to arrive at the river Nile, which he commanded the brother to cross over. And when he began to cross over, behold a crocodile was swiftly pursuing the man who was a thief, but the servant of God, not being unmindful of him, cried out to him, and made known to him concerning the fierce attack which the animal was about to make. Then, the thief having been delivered from death, gave thanks to that brother, and marvelled at his affection, and protected him.

194. The blessed Pîôr was on one occasion working for a man in the fields in the summer time, and he was weary, and reminded the lord of his hire about his wages, and when he delayed [in paying him] Abbâ Pîôr returned to his monastery. And on another occasion, when the time of harvest had arrived, Abbâ Pîôr went to the same man, and reaped his crops with a good will, and he returned to his monastery, the man having given him nothing. And again in the third year Abbâ Pîôr came and helped him to harvest his crops, and when he had made an end of the work of harvest according to custom, and yet received nothing, he departed again to his monastery. Meanwhile the man, who was worthy of blessing, laboured according to his custom in the life and works of spiritual excellence, and rejoiced that he had been defrauded of his hire. And Christ worked upon the lord of his hire in his house, and he took the wages of the blessed man, and went round about among the monasteries seeking for him, and when, after the greatest difficulty, he had found him, he fell at his feet and entreated him to receive his hire. But when the holy man refused the wages and said, “Perhaps thou hast need of them, and as for me God will give me my hire,” the man increased his supplications unto him, and finally the holy man permitted him to give the money to the church.

195. An old man used to say, “We do not advance because we do not know our capacity, and we have not sufficient patience in the work which we begin, and we wish to possess spiritual excellences without working for them, and we go from place to place, and expect to find some spot where Satan is not, and when we see the temptation of Satan in that place whereunto we have been called, he who knoweth what the war is will remain in God. For the kingdom of heaven is within you.”

196. An old man used to say, “If it should happen that a sickness of the body overtake thee, let it not be grievous unto thee, for if thy Lord wisheth thee to be sick in the body, who art thou that thou shouldst be in despair? Doth He not take care for thee in everything? Couldst thou live without Him? Be patient, and entreat thou Him to give thee such things as are helpful, and which are according to His will; and besides this eat thou His food of grace with long-suffering.”

197. Abbâ Poemen used to say, “The certain sign that a monk is a monk is made known by trials (or temptations).”

198. A certain brother was estranged from a fellow monk, and he came to Abbâ Sisoes the Theban, and said unto him, “I am estranged from a fellow monk, and I wish to take vengeance for myself”; and the old man said, “Let us pray.” And whilst he was praying, he said in his prayer, “O God, henceforward we have no need of Thee to take care of us, for we will take vengeance for ourselves”; and when the brother heard these words he fell down at the feet of the old man straightway, and said unto him, “Henceforward I will not enter into judgement with that brother. Forgive me, O Father.” And thus Abbâ Sisoes healed that brother.

199. They say that Abbâ John the Less, the Theban, the disciple of Abbâ Ammon, ministered unto the Abbâ in his sickness for twelve years, and he sat by him when the old man was in a state of exhaustion, and he persevered and endured so patiently, even whilst he was performing great labours, that the old man never once said unto him, “Rest, my son; rest, my son!” And when the old man was about to die, and the other old men were sitting before him, Abbâ Ammon took his hand, and said unto him, “Live, my son, live!” Then he committed him to the old men and said unto them, “This is an angel, and not a man.”

200. Abbâ Paulê and Tîmâth his brother dwelt in Scete, and there was contention between them frequently; and Abbâ Paulê said, “How long are we to remain thus?” Abbâ Tîmâth said unto him, “When I come upon thee bear with me; and when thou comest upon me I will bear with thee.” And from that time they were at peace.

201. Certain brethren asked Abbâ Sisoes a question, and said unto him, “If we are going along a road, and he who is conducting us forgetteth the way, is it necessary for us to tell him?” And Abbâ Sisoes said unto them, “No.” Then a brother said unto him, “Are we then to let him lead us astray?” And the old man said unto him, “What then? Thou hast a stick, canst thou not take it and smite him? Now I knew twelve brethren who were travelling along the road, and in the night time he who was leading them lost the way, and all the brethren knew that he had done so; and every one of them struggled with his thoughts, [and decided] not to tell him. And when the day had come he who had been leading them learned that he had wandered off the road, and he made excuses and said unto them, ‘Forgive me because I lost the way’; and they all said, ‘We all of us knew it, brother, but we held our peace.’ And when he heard this he marvelled, saying, ‘The brethren would endure even unto death and would utter never a word’; and he glorified God. Now the distance which they had wandered from the road was twelve miles.”

202. Certain brethren came unto Abbâ Anthony, and said unto him, “Speak unto us a word whereby we may live”; and the old man said unto them, “Behold, ye have heard the Scriptures, and they are sufficient for you,” and the brethren said, “We wish to hear [a word] from thee also, O father.” Abbâ Anthony said unto them, “It is said in the Gospel, ‘If a man smite thee on the [one] cheek, turn to him the other also’ ” (St. Luke 6:29); and they said unto him, “We cannot do this.” Abbâ Anthony said unto them, “If ye cannot turn the other cheek, continue [to be smitten] on the one cheek”; and they said to him, “And this we cannot do.” The old man said unto them, “If ye cannot do even this, do not pay back blows in return for the smiting which ye have received”; and they said, “We cannot even do this.” Then the old man said unto his disciples, “Make then for the brethren a little boiled food, for they are ill”; and he said to them, “If ye cannot do this, and ye are unable to do the other things, prayers are necessary forthwith.”

203. They used to say that Mother Sarâ, who dwelt above the river and was sixty years old, had never looked out [from her abode] and seen the river.

204. A certain old man dwelt in the desert at a distance of ten miles from the monastery, wherefrom he had always to draw water, and on one occasion the matter became very wearisome to him, and he said, “What is the necessity for me to labour so much? I will come and will take up my abode by the side of this stream.” And having said this, he turned behind him and he saw a man coming after him, and he was counting his footsteps, and he asked him, saying, “Who art thou?” And he answered and said unto him, “I am an angel of the Lord, and I have been sent to count thy footsteps, and to give thee thy reward”; and having heard this the old man was consoled greatly, and he went five miles further from the place wherein he was, and took up his abode there.

205. They say that three thieves went into the cell of Abbâ Theodore, and that two of them laid hold upon him whilst the third carried off the things which he had in his cell; and having taken out even the books which he had there, they were going to carry away his cloak, when he said unto them, “Leave me this”; and as they refused to do so, he moved his arms and hands and hurled the two men who were holding him from him, and when they saw this they were afraid. Then the old man said unto them, “Fear ye not, but divide what ye have taken into four parts, and take three of them, and leave me one.”

206. They used to say that the cave in Patârâ which belonged to Abbâ Chaeremon who was in Scete, was forty miles distant from the church, and twelve miles further from a spring of water. And he used to bring to the church, with the labour of his hands, two pitchers of water, one for each day, and when he was tired he would set one down by the roadside and go back afterwards and fetch it.

207. They used to say that the cell of the blessed Arsenius also was two and thirty miles from the church, but he never went anywhere and others brought him whatsoever he required.

208. The blessed Arsenius never changed the water [wherein he soaked] the leaves which he twisted into ropes except once a year, but he used to add frequently to it, for he twisted palm leaves and sewed them together until the sixth hour [daily]. And the fathers entreated him, saying, “Tell us why thou dost not change the water of the leaves, for it is very foul”; then the old man answered, and said, “It is right that I should endure this foul smell in return for the odours of the sweet scents, and oils, and delightful odours, which I enjoyed when I was in the world.”

209. It is related of a certain old man that if he heard a brother speak evilly to him he would labour very hard to make something which would please the brother who had spoken to him, and that if that brother did not live with him, the old man would send whatsoever he had made to the place where he was.

210. A certain old man used to say, “It is a disgrace for a monk to enter into judgement with the man who hath done him an injury.”

211. A brother asked a certain old man, saying, “Tell me one thing, whereby, if I keep it, I shall live.” The old man said unto him, “If thou canst endure being reviled and cursed, this command is the greatest of all the commandments.”

212. A brother asked Abbâ Poemen, saying, “What shall I do to my heart which flaggeth and is frightened if a little toil, and tribulation overtake me, or if temptation come upon me?” The old man said unto him, “Therefore we should wonder and admire the righteous man Joseph who, being only a very young man—that is to say, seventeen years of age—was sold into slavery into the land of Egypt, the land of the worshippers of idols, and he endured temptations, and God made him glorious to the end.”

213. And he said also, “We may consider also the blessed Job, who never became slothful, for he persevered in his trust in his God, and his enemies were not able to shake him from his hope.”

214. On one occasion the brethren who were in Scete were cleaning and dressing palm leaves, and there was among them a man who had become ill through his excessive spiritual labours, and he was coughing, and bringing up clots of phlegm and spittle; and as he spat, involuntarily, some of the spittle fell upon a certain brother. Then the mind of that brother on whom the spittle had fallen said unto him, “Tell that brother not to spit upon thee”; but straightway he licked up the spittle, and he turned and said to his mind, “Thou hast not licked up the spittle, therefore do not tell him not to spit upon thee.”

215. Abbâ Poemen used to say that John Colob, who made entreaty unto God, and [his] passions were removed from him, and he was set free from anxious care, went and said unto a famous old man, “I perceive that my soul is at rest, and that it hath neither war nor strife [to trouble it].” Then the old man said unto him, “Go and entreat God to let war and strife come unto thee again, for it is through war and strife that the soul advanceth in spiritual excellence.” And afterwards, whensoever war stood up before him, he did not pray, “O Lord, remove striving from me,” but he made supplication unto God, saying, “O Lord, give me patience to endure the strife.”

216. There was a certain man who had within himself love and affection for the brotherhood, and who never had in his mind any evil thought whatsoever; and a certain brother stole some things and brought [them] and deposited them with him, and the man did not consider or perceive by what means the brother had obtained them. Now some days later the matter was discovered, and it was pointed out to the owner of the things that they had been deposited with the old man, who made excuses to them, saying, “Forgive ye me, for I repent.” And after a few days the brother who had stolen the things came to him, and he began to demand [them from] the old man, and said unto him, “Thou thyself didst take the things”; and the old man made excuses to him, saying, “Forgive me”; and the old man brought out all the work of his hands, and gave it to him, and the brother took it and departed. Now the disposition of the old man was such that, if one of the brethren committed a fault, and denied it, he would make excuses for him, saying, “It was I who did this thing”; thus meek and humble was the holy man, and he never wronged any man even by the least word.

217. A certain brother lived by himself, and he was disturbed in his mind, and went and revealed the matter to Abbâ Theodore of Parmê. And the old man said unto him, “Go and humble thy mind, and submit thyself to live with the brethren”; and he went and did as the old man had told him, and took up his abode with other men. And he went back to the the old man, and said unto him, “Father, I am not content to dwell with other men”; then the old man said unto him, “If thou art not content to live either by thyself or with others, why didst thou come out to be a monk? Is it not necessary for thee to endure trials? Tell me, how long hast thou lived this life?” And the brother said unto him, “Eight years.” The old man said unto him, “Verily I have led the life I lead now for seventy years, and not one pleasure hath come in my way [the whole time], and yet thou wishest to find pleasure (or rest) in eight years!”

218. A certain brother, who had vanquished Satan in everything, subsequently had his eyes blinded by Satan so that he could not see, yet this blessed man did not pray for himself, and that he might be able to see, but he only prayed that he might be able to endure patiently his trial; and through his constancy his eyes were opened.

219. A monk was smitten by a man on the leg and was severely injured, but the holy man was neither angry nor wroth with him that had smitten him, [but he nursed the place wherein he had been wounded, and made excuses to the man who had struck him].

220. Abbâ Arsenius used to say, “When an unbaked [or moist] brick is laid in the foundations of a building by the river-side, it will not support it, but if it be burnt in the furnace it will support the building like a stone. And thus it is with the man who possesseth a carnal mind, and who doth not become hot and burn with heat, even as did Joseph with the word of God, for when he cometh to have dominion he will be found to be wanting. For very many of those upon whom trials have come have straightway been swept away and have fallen. It is therefore a good thing for a man to know the gravity of dominion, and to be required to bear trials, which are like the onset of many mighty waters, so that he may remain firm and unmoved.” And of this holy man Joseph—if a man wisheth to have the story told—Arsenius used to say that “He was not a being of earth at all—so much was he tempted. And [consider] the country [of Egypt] wherein formerly there was not even a trace of the fear of God! But the God of his fathers was with him, and He delivered him out of all his tribulations, and Joseph is now with his fathers in the kingdom of heaven; and let us also make supplication with all our might that we too may in the same manner be able to flee from and escape from the righteous judgement of God.”

221. They say that there was with Abbâ Isidore, the priest of Scete, a certain brother who was infirm in his mind, and he was a man who used abusive language and possessed very little intelligence, and Abbâ Isidore wished to turn him out from his abode; and when that brother came to the door of the monastery, the old man said once again, “Bring him to me,” and he rebuked him, saying, “Brother, be silent, lest through thy little intelligence and thine impatience thou provoke our Lord to anger”; and thus by his longsuffering Abbâ Isidore quieted that brother.

222. A lover of ascetic labours saw a man carrying a dead person on a bier, and he said unto him, “Dost thou carry a dead man? Go and carry the living.”

223. They say that there was a certain monk who, whenever he found a man reviling and cursing him, used to run towards him with all his power, saying, “These [words] are the causes of spiritual excellence in those who are strenuous, for those who ascribe blessing to a man disturb the soul, as it is written, ‘Those who ascribe blessing to you lead astray your soul.’ ”

224. Certain old men came unto an old man who dwelt in the desert that they might reveal unto him their thoughts, and might profit by his knowledge, and they found some young men outside his cell who were pasturing sheep, and they were saying unto one another words which were unseemly. And the old men said unto the old man, “Father, how is it that thou dost not command these young men not to curse?” And the old man said unto them, “My brethren, believe me, I have many times wished to command them [not to do so], but I have rebuked myself, saying, ‘If thou canst not endure this little thing, how couldst thou bear some severe trial if it were to come upon thee?’ I have therefore never said anything to them, so that the matter might be a cause of remembering that I have to endure the things which are to come.”

225. A certain brother ministered unto one of the fathers who was sick, now his disease was decline of the body, and he used to bring up foetid pus; and the mind of the brother said unto him, “Flee from him, for thou canst not endure this foetid smell.” Then the brother took an earthen vessel and put into it some of the water in which the old man had washed, and when he was thirsty he used to drink some of it; and his mind began to say unto him, “Flee not, but drink not of this filthy water.” But that brother laboured on greatly in respect of the water in which the sick man had washed, and although his soul shrank from that filthiness, he persevered in drinking it; and God saw his labour and tribulation, and He changed the filthy washing water which was in the earthen vessel into clean water, and He healed that old man.

226. One of the monks wished to go out from his monastery and to wander about so that he might have a little relaxation and enjoyment, and when they saw him, an old man said unto him, “Seek not gratification in this world, O my son, but work rather and persevere therein in the invincible power of the Holy Trinity.”

227. Abbâ Moses used to say, “Secret withdrawal [from work] maketh dark the mind, but for a man to endure and to persevere in his works maketh light the mind in our Lord, and it strengtheneth and fortifieth the soul.”

228. And he used to say also, “Bear disgrace and affliction in the Name of Jesus with humility and a troubled heart; and shew before Him thy feebleness, and He will become unto thee might.”

229. Certain people praised one of the brethren before the blessed Anthony, and when that brother came to the blessed man the old man put him to the test, and he found that he could not bear contempt and contumely. And the old man said unto him, “Thou art like unto a palace the front of which is decorated and beautiful, but the back whereof hath been broken into by thieves and plundered.”

230. A brother asked an old man a question, saying, “What shall I do?” And the old man said unto him, “Go and learn to love putting restraint upon thyself in everything.”

231. One of the old men said concerning Lazarus, the poor man, “We cannot find that Lazarus ever did one excellent thing except that he never murmured against the rich man as being one who had never shewn him an act of mercy; but he bore his infirmity with the giving of thanks, and because of this God took him to Himself.”

232. Abbâ Macarius used to say, “If contumely be accounted by thee as an honour, and blame as praise, and poverty as wealth, thou wilt not die.”

233. A certain brother asked Abbâ Poemen, saying, “What mean the words, ‘If a man be angry with his brother without a cause?’ ” (St. Matthew 5:22.) The old man said unto him, “If thy brother make use of oppression, and wrong, and fraud in respect of thee, and thou art angry with him [because of them], thou art angry with him without a cause. And if he tear out thy right eye, or cut off thy right hand, and thou art angry with him, thou art angry with him without a cause; but if a man wisheth to separate thee or to put thee away from God, then to be angry and wroth with him is a good thing.”

234. There were two men in the desert who were brethren in the flesh, and a devil came to separate them from each other; and one day the younger brother lit a lamp and set it upon a candlestick, but, by the agency of the Evil One, he overturned the candlestick and extinguished the lamp. Then the elder brother was angry and smote him, and the younger brother made excuses to him, saying, “Have a little patience with me, and I will light the lamp again.” Now when God saw his patient endurance, He punished that devil until the morning, and the devil came and told the prince of devils what had happened; and there was with the prince of devils a certain priest of idols, and straightway this man left everything, and he went and became a monk. And at the very beginning he laid hold upon humility, saying, “Humility is able to bring to naught all the power of the Adversary, even as I have heard from the devils, who said, ‘Whensoever we stir up the monks, they turn to humility, and they make excuses one to the other, and thus they do away all our power.’ ”

235. Abbâ Poemen said, “Abbâ Isidore, the priest of the church, on one occasion spake to the people, saying, My brethren, when ye are working in a certain place it is not strength to depart therefrom because of the labour; and as for myself, I wrap myself up in my cloak and I go to the place where labour is, and labour becometh unto me a pleasure.”

236. Paesius, the brother of Abbâ Poemen, had an affection for the people who were outside his monastery, and Abbâ Poemen did not wish this to be, and he rose up and fled to Abbâ Ammon, and said unto him, “My brother Paesius hath made a promise of love to certain folk, and I am not pleased thereat.” Abbâ Ammon said unto him, “Poemen, thou art still alive. Go, and sit in thy cell, and meditate in thy mind, saying, ‘Behold, there is a year for thee in the grave.’ ”

237. There were two monks who lived in one place, and an old man came to them, and wishing to put them to the test, he took a stick, and began to beat to pieces the garden herbs of one of them; and when one monk saw him doing this, he hid himself. And when only one root was left, the other brother said unto him, “Father, if it please thee, leave me this root that I may boil it and we may eat together.” Then the old man made excuses to that brother, and said unto him, “The Spirit of God hath rested upon thee, O my brother.”

Copyright ©1999-2018 e-Catholic2000.com