Reflection on a Saying of a Desert Christian: anonymous

“A certain monk in our times was slandered by someone considered by others to be very holy. The slandered monk was perplexed and fell into such despair that even his body began to suffer. He asked himself, “How is it that someone thought to be holy and respected by so many would have such little understanding and hurt another person, under the guise of protecting the faith? After all, I am being attacked for supposed personal immorality, not heresy.” This torment dwelled in the monk’s mind.

“Finally a very wise man of spiritual discretion told him: “If your attacker were really holy, he would probably not cause you this great spiritual and physical harm. But if you dare to judge him and to say, ‘by this, I know that he is not holy,’ then the spiritual harm to you will be even greater. Leave the final judgment to God, avoid the man, and pray in your soul that God will show him what he has done to you, whether out of ignorance or ill will, so that he might repent. Above all, pray for him with fervor. In this way God will grant you peace of soul, which surpasses bodily health.”

“In this way the monk suffered his torments, not in vain, but to his spiritual profit, dying shortly after with a peaceful heart.”

How many times has someone we admired, respected, thought of as a teacher or spiritual guide, said something about us that was untrue and we hurt and hurt over it?

This happens to all of us.  There is so much smack-in-the-face pain when such injustice is done to us. We can obsess and ruminate and never figure out or understand how someone we thought so highly of could ever betray us in this manner.

We really have no ability to convince anyone of anything.  Only the Holy Spirit has that authority and power. That is pretty much what the “very wise man of spiritual discretion” is telling the monk who is hurting. 

If someone says something untrue about us we can either choose to be judgemental and thereby sin, or we can choose to leave it up to God to sort out.If we are worried about the reactions of other people, that too is something over which we have no control.  All we can do is  seek to live our lives in a manner pleasing to God.

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