Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Desert Fathers

CLXIII. The abbot Alexander, father of the monastery of Calamon beside the Jordan, used to tell this story. "One day I was with the abbot Paul Helladicus in his cave, and behold one came and knocked, and the old man went out and opened the door, and bringing forth bread and peas that had been steeped, set it before him and he ate. Now I thought it might be a pilgrim, and looking through the window, I saw it was a lion. So I said to the old man, 'Tell me, father, why dost thou give him to eat?' And he said to me, 'Because I admonished him to do hurt to none, neither man nor beast, and said to him, "Come every day and I will give thee thy food." And behold this is now the seventh month since he hath come twice in the day and I give him to eat.

"Again after a few days I went out to him to buy a wine jar from him, for that was the old man's trade, and I said to him, 'What ails thee, Father? how goes it with the lion?' And he said to me, 'Badly.' And I said, 'How?' And he said, 'The other day he came here that I might give him to eat, but I saw his chin stained with blood, and I said to him, "What is this? Thou hast been disobedient to me, and hast eaten flesh. Blessed be God, I shall give thee no more, a devourer of flesh eating the bread of the fathers: begone." But he was unwilling to go away. Then I took a rope, and trebled it, and gave him three blows with it, and he went away.'"

No comments: