Friday, August 21, 2009

The Heart of a Statue

John told this story: Anub and Poemen and some others who were born of the same mother were monks in Scetis. Some savage Mazicae came and sacked Scetis. The brothers fled and went to a place called Terenuthis; they stayed there a few days in an old temple while they discussed where to live.

Anub said to Poemen, "Of your kindness, let me live apart from you and our brothers, so that we do not see each other during this week."

Poemen said, "Let us do as you wish." So that is what they did.

There was a stone statue in the temple. Every day at dawn Anub got up and pelted the face of the statue with stones and every day at evening he said to it, "Forgive me." Every day for a week he did this: and on Saturday they met again.

Poemen said to Anub, "I saw you throwing stones at the face of the statue every day this week, and later doing penance to the statue. A true Christian would not have done that."

Anub answered, "I did it for your sake. When you saw me throwing stones at the statue's face, did it speak? Was it angry?"

Poemen said, "No."

Anub said, "When I did penance before the statue, was it moved in its heart? Did it say, 'I won't forgive you?'"

Poemen answered, "No."

Anub said, "Here we are, seven brothers. If we want to stay together, we must become like this statue, which is untroubled by the injuries done to it. If you will not become like this statue, see, there are four doors to this temple, and each of us may go in any direction he chooses."

At these words, they fell upon the ground before Anub, and said to him, "Let it be as you say, abba. We will do what you tell us."

Poemen described what happened afterwards, "We remained together all of our lives, doing our work and everything else as Anub directed us. He appointed one of us as steward, and we ate whatever he put before us; no one could have said: 'Bring us something else to eat,' or 'I will not eat that.' So we passed our lives in quiet and peace."

~~Photo by Griffin Logue

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