Reflection on a Saying of a Desert Christian

“A brother, who pointlessly passed his time neglecting his salvation, once went down to the city to sell his baskets. Evening fell while he was on his way, however, and so as not to be in danger in the dark night, he found improvised lodging in an old tomb. He lay down to rest and when, out of sleepiness, he was finally closing his eyes, he saw opposite him two demons scrutinizing him.

“Fancy that! Look there-that monk had the nerve to lie down on a grave,” one of them said. “Let us vex him so that he has to leave our habitation.”

“Let us not waste our time with him,” the other demon answered contemptuously. “He belongs to us. He eats, drinks, gossips, neglects his duties, and serves us in almost all ways. Let us go tempt those who battle us day and night with their prayer and asceticism.”

“The brother, seeing that even the demons disregarded him, took control and became a good monk.”

This Saying makes me chuckle in that rueful way of recognizing one’s own self. I can be just as guilty as anyone else when it comes to neglecting my salvation, sliding by on past merits if any.

The demons’ conversation makes me chuckle. The Desert Christians were always talking about being plagued by demons and these two demons don’t give this monk the time of day because he is already in their grasp. When the monk hears how dismissive they are of him, he changes his ways and no longer neglects his salvation. May I learn from him.

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