Thursday, June 02, 2005

the Fire of the Holy Spirit and the power of good example: another Desert Christian story

from John Moschus' book, The Spiritual Meadow, #69

Sophronius and I went to the same Abba Palladios with this request, "Of your charity, tell us, father, where you came from, and how it came about that you embraced the monastic life." He was from Thessalonica, he said, and then he told us this: "In my home country, about three stades beyond the city wall, there was a recluse, a native of Mesopotamia, whose name was David. He was a man of outstanding virtue, merciful and continent. He spent about twenty years in his place of confinement. Now at this time, because of the barbarians, the walls of the city were patrolled at night by soldiers. One night those who were on guard duty at that stretch of the city walls nearest to where the elder's place of confinement was located, saw fire pouring from the windows of the recluse's cell. The soldiers thought the barbarians must have set the elder's cell on fire, but when they went out in the morning, to their amazement, they found the elder unharmed and his cell unburned. Again the following night they saw fire, the same way as before, in the elder's cell --- and this went on for a long time. The occurrence became known to all the city and throughout the countryside. Many people would come and keep vigil on the wall all night long in order to see the fire, which continued to appear until the elder died.
As this phenomenon did not merely appear once or twice but was often seen, I said to myself, "If God so glorifies his servants in this world, how much more so in the world to come when He shines upon their faces like the sun? This, my family, is why I embraced the monastic life."


No comments: