Monday, March 9, 2009

The Desert Fathers


I. A brother went to the cell of the abbot Arsenius in Scete, and looked through the window, and saw the old man as it were one flame: now, the brother was worthy to look upon such things. And after he had knocked, the old man came out, and saw the brother as one amazed, and said to him, "Hast thou been knocking here long? Hast thou seen aught?" And he answered, "No." And he talked with him, and sent him away.

XII. The abbot Moses, who dwelt in Petra, was at one time sorely harried by lust: and when he could no longer endure to hold himself in his cell, he set out to tell it to the abbot Isidore: and the old man asked him to go back again to his cell. But he did not consent, saying, "I cannot, Father." And he took him and brought him into the house. And he said to him, "Look at the sunset." and he looked, and saw a multitude of demons: and they were in commotion, and rousing themselves to battle. And again the abbot Isidore said, "Look to the East." And he looked, and saw an innumerable multitude of angels in glory. Whereupon the abbot Isidore said, "Behold, these are they that are sent to aid: those that are climbing up in the west are they that fight against us: and they that are with us are more than they that be against us." And the abbot Moses thanked God and took courage, and returned to his cell.

XXI. At one time Zachary went to his abbot Silvanus, and found him in ecstasy, and his hands were stretched out to heaven. And when he saw him thus, he closed the door and went away: and coming back about the sixth hour, and the ninth, he found him even so: but toward the tenth hour he knocked, and coming in found him lying quiet and said to him, "What ailed thee today, Father?" And he said, "I was ill to-day, my son." But the young man held his feet saying, "I shall not let thee go, until thou tell me what thou hast seen." The old man answered him: "I was caught up into heaven, and I saw the glory of God. And I stood there until now, and now am I sent away."

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