Saturday, November 7, 2009

Nodding Off

Cassian told a story of a hermit who was living in the desert. He asked God to grant that he should never fall asleep when the conversation was edifying but that if anyone spoke with back-biting or hate, he should nod off at once so that he would not hear poisonous words.

He said that the devil strives hard to make men speak idle words, and fights against letting anyone hear any spiritual teaching.

He gave the following example of this: Once when I was talking to some brothers for the good of their souls they became so drowsy that they could not even keep their eyelids open. I wanted to show them that this is the devil's work, so I started gossiping: and at once they sat up and began to enjoy what I was saying.

But I said, sadly, "We were talking of heaven just now, and your eyes were closing in slumber: but the moment the talk became frivolous, you all began to listen eagerly. I beg you then, dear brothers, since you know that this is the work of the devil, be watchful and beware of falling asleep when you are hearing about spiritual things."

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