Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Once some brethren went out of the monastery to visit the hermits who lived in the desert. They came to one who received them with joy and seeing that they were tired, invited them to eat before the accustomed time and placed before them all the food he had available. But that night when they were all supposed to be sleeping the hermit heard the cenobites talking among themselves and saying: These hermits eat more than we do in the monastery. Now at dawn the guests set out to see another hermit, and as they were starting out their host said: Greet him from me, and give him this message: Be careful not to water the vegetables. When they reached the other hermitage they delivered this message. And the second hermit understood what was meant by the words. So he made the visitors sit down and weave baskets, and sitting with them he worked without interruption. And in the evening when the time came for lighting the lamp, he added a few extra psalms to the usual number, after which he said to them: we do not usually eat every day out here, but because you have come along it is fitting to have a little supper today, for a change. Then he gave them some dry bread and salt, then added: Here's a special treat for you. Upon which he mixed them a little sauce of vinegar, salt and oil, and gave it to them. After supper they got up again and started in on the psalms and kept on praying almost until dawn, at which the hermit said: Well, we can't finish all our usual prayers, for you are tired from your journey. You had better take a little rest. And so when the first hour of the day came, they all wanted to leave this hermit, but he would not let them go. He kept saying: Stay with me awhile. I cannot let you go so soon, charity demands that I keep you for two or three days. But they, hearing this, waited until dark and then under the cover of night they made off.

No comments: