Posts Tagged With: Monk

Two Temptations Given To Us By The Devil

No matter where we run, no matter where we hide, the devil will always follow. If he doesn’t present himself in one form, he will in another.

For monks who go to the desert he presents himself as a naked woman or takes visible form. For the man living in the world he uses those who are ignorant even the baptized and the clergy.

For example you’re fasting during lent and all of a sudden that friend you have whom you know would never offer you a bite to eat, asks you if you’d like a nice bite of his cream bun.

I had a friend once call me up and ask me if I’d like to go to a prostitute with him and guess what…in all our years of knowing each other this lad wouldn’t buy you so much as a Happy meal let alone drop all that money on you to go to a prostitute.

So much was his desire that I become like him and enter into his world of promiscuity. This was before my conversion and I remember agreeing to it. We arrived and nobody was there, nobody answered the door. I like to think it was Gods providence that protected me that day. What was I in the middle of doing? I was in the process of reading Holy things and trying to regain peace in my life.

The Devil saw this and along came this ”friend” of mine with a better idea. I was in the middle of reading and praying the rosary one night when he called again. ”Hey it’s on man they’re going to be there tonight”. I will never forget how liberating it was to turn around and say ”No, I’m not interested”.

From that day forward our friendship dissolved like Aspirin in water.

The devil uses men and women to tempt us which I find more scary than memory or him showing himself to me in a dream. Men will do more damage than any demonic spirit will. Ignorant souls are the devils best weapon because even they are beyond temptation and there’s not much work to be done when they’re involved.

St.Maximos the confessor in his texts on Love tells us that Jesus was tempted both ways, both by men (the pharisees) and in the desert by Satan where he presented himself in true form.

Why does he show himself to those who have retreated to a monastery or desert and not to the ordinary person living in the world? It is a good question isn’t it?

I think it’s important to note that God permits Satan to show himself so there’s a reason for it. However Satan won’t show himself to the ordinary human because it would make him obvious that he exists. He does more damage hiding behind the curtain of mans ignorance.

He shows himself to the monk in the desert first to the amateur monk through memory and sometimes dreams and to the advanced Monk he will toss around and go to war with. He will present himself as a beautiful light and angel or as a naked woman.

This is because the advanced monk already knows him. The cat is out of the bag and he’s no longer spiritually blind but tuned in now in an almost perfect awareness of what the spiritual realm.

Therefore the Devil has to work harder now.

We’ve talked briefly about the Devil tempting us through humans and showing himself. What about dreams?

All the Fathers agree that the state of our dreams will determine the state of our soul. So if we are earthly in any way our dreams will reflect that.

But that doesn’t mean the devil has entered the dream either. Your dreams are a reflection of the state of your soul.

However there is a point where the devil can enter. You’ll know by the anxiety and utter fear you experience.

The entrance of him into my dreams is rare. When he does come it’s always the same dream or similar.

I am being pulled down to Hell. There is a lot of screaming from me in the dream. I try to pray the St.Michaels prayer ”St.Michael the Archangel defend us in the day of battle” etc etc but he won’t let me speak. Every time I open my mouth or force the words out he seals my mouth shut.

I don’t stop trying and I always manage to blurt out in a loud voice ST.MICHAELLLL THE ARCHANGELLLL DEFEND…US……IN….THE……DAY OF BATTLE…….

Then I awake in a heavy sweat and the presence of the evil one still in the room I pray a little more and then go to sleep again.

Another night it was a beautiful woman in my dream. I went to make the sign of the cross in my dream and the devil wouldn’t let me. Like the same force he used to seal my mouth shut he used to prevent me from making the sign of the Cross. When I eventually did I woke up.

Dreams you see are that unaware state where the devil can enter in whatever form he likes. It’s the only one where it’s closest to being in the desert like the monk.

The best way to deal with it is to allow it to takes its course, thank God for allowing it as it’s a gift that we progress even more in our faith and also a warning that we could do better in our daily prayer life.

I know mine isn’t too good but prayer is the only way to eliminate him but I often find the most difficult temptations to deal with are the ones that come from living in the world and men themselves.

Lets pray for each other.

 

 

 

 

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The Monk With The Giant Diamond


One day a monk was strolling through the woods when he happened to stumble upon the biggest diamond in the world. 

That evening he lay down by a tree, rummaged through his rucksack pulling out a sandwich to eat. 

After a heavy meal He fell asleep. 

On the same night in another part of the village the most holy Theotokos approached a peasant man in a dream as he lay asleep in his cabin. “All your prayers have been answered and you will be rich beyond your wildest dreams”She explained.”go to the woods in the morning. There you will find a monk laying beneath a tree. Awake him and ask him for the giant diamond in his rucksack and he will gladly give it to you”. 

The peasant man upon waking ran into the woods and sure enou there he was laying beneath a tree. He awoke the monk and explained the dream to him. The monk responded “what this thing? I found it in the woods, it was weighing me down any ways so here you can have it.” 

The man couldn’t believe his look. His eyes bulged with excitement at his future investment. 

Some time later the peasant came back to the monk who by now was in the middle of morning prayers. 

The monk surprised to see him again said “what is it you want now? ”

“Please ” replied the man in a sorrowful tone and with a repentant heart said “take it back from me I want something you have that is greater than is diamond. ”

“And what what would that be ?” Replied the Monk cheerfully.

“Could you give me whatever grace you have that enabled you to part with this diamond and give it to me?”

“It is not for me to give but I will certainly show you “the way”.”

So the man certainly became rich beyond his wildest dreams and the Theotokos was telling the truth but he became rich in a way he didn’t expect. 

Sometimes God responds with what we need when we pray not with what we want. 

Please tell this story to your children if you like. 

God bless

Stephen 

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What exactly is a Saint?

I am just a lay man with little or no knowledge at all on what grounds the Church may view a Saint to be. So take my words with a pinch of salt and a dash of suspicion thrown in for good measure.

Many of us seem to think that a Saint is someone who just locks themselves away in a monastery somewhere and embarks upon a life of spiritual perfection. Ok that is true. But what about those people who live tireless lives of working hard with the Lord, those who never tire of being tenacious in their bid to be united with him by reducing their vices and passions and confessing them daily?

I do believe we have two types of personalities in the Church that reflect the apostles St.Peter and St.John. St.Peter was forever making blunders and even denied Our Lord three times. Yet he was excited about God and the first opportunity he got to repent, he did. Yet this is the Saint upon whom Christ built his Church and put in charge of the universal Church.

St.John of course reflects the kind of person who wishes to really get close to Christ. For me he reflects the people who lead the life of spiritual perfection of whom I spoke about earlier.

I saw a documentary of a woman who did a great job for the local addicts in her town. She took them in to her halfway house in the Bronx and really worked hard on them. She was loud, sometimes cursed too and there is one stage in the movie where she drops the F-bomb because she is feeling ill. Her name is Sister Helen. This woman is a Saint in my eyes. Some may say, ”But isn’t a saint somebody who doesn’t say curse words or is loud and shouts a lot?” Lets re-phrase that question to ”Is not a saint somebody who does not sin?” and we begin to see how stupid a question that is because . . . We all sin!!!

But don’t we know the tree by its fruit? Well yes of course, but is not St.Peters sin of denial and return to God through repentance a fruit? Is not the woman who does good yet struggles with the passions and asks mercy from God to forgive such sins and get on with the battle evidence of someone who bears fruit amidst the struggle?

So I think we need to sit back and meditate on what exactly it is that makes a sinner a saint. To meditate on the two personalities, that is, St.Peter and St.John. The man who lives in the world, yet is striving to be not of the world, and the man who has removed himself from the world and is on a path to spiritual perfection in the Lord. If you ask me, I think in order to be like St.John we must first stand and walk in the shoes of St.Peter first. And some of us may never leave the shoes of being a St.Peter. But I’d rather my life reflect one of these saints than none at all wouldn’t you? St.Peter was a rock. The winds of sin try to blow him down but he is tenacious and keeps on begging the Lord to forgive his sins and is tenacious in staying close to the Heart of God.

I am not condoning sinning, God forbid. But I am saying we should not deny someone sainthood because of it. We should look at how they lived their lives and look for the fruits. The rosary, going to confession, Mass, adoration, fasting, scriptures, worked hard in reducing that passion of alcoholism, he was a fighter not a man of despair and never gave up trying even though he died with this passion weighing heavily on his shoulders. This is also the kind of man that makes a saint. The fruit of ”tenacity” was in him until the end.

Thank you my friends for reading my post. As I said before, take what I say with a pinch of salt and a dash of suspicion for I am a wretch who in reality has not a clue what he is talking about, therefore if I said anything wrong please by all means correct me.

Domestic Monk

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Aladdin The Cartoon And A Nice Message

Before I get started may I just note to the reader that this is not a full review of this Disney feature film. It is just my excerpt of what captured my attention right away and something I felt compelled to write a short post about.

I am sure many are aware of this Disney feature film. If not then I suggest you buy it and watch it with your kids. It carries with it a good message about the dangers of wanting power and what it entails, and in the end how truth always prevails even if the outcome should be that one remains powerless because weakness and truth is power.

So I bought this movie for my son. it was in fact a kind of selfish desire of my own to buy it also as I wanted to revisit my childhood years in watching it.

So apart from other messages in the film I picked up on the part where Aladdin and the Princess escape the market from the guards who wanted to capture them for being thieves. When they do finally escape they have a conversation where the princess is saying something like ”I hate the rich life of being a princess, always being locked up and never getting out. ” While she is saying this Aladdin ( a poor thief and begger boy ) is saying ”I hate being poor and being trampled on and would love to make it big and rich someday.”

They both look at each other, realise what it is they are saying and then erupt in laughter before moving on.What I find interesting about this is that such a conversation proves that both of them are miserable regardless of their material position, that is, one being poor and the other being of great wealth.So it is not our material disposition that gives us happiness. It is Christ from on high.

It reminded me of that part of the Gospel where the rich man approaches Jesus and has a conversation with him about wanting to follow him. The man of great wealth asks Jesus what it is he must do in order to be a follower of his. So Jesus tells him to follow the commandments. But the wealthy man replied that he already does this. Jesus then tells the man of great wealth to give up all he owns. But then the man walked away sad because he was extremely wealthy. He was not prepared to give all his material possessions up.

But there is something even deeper about Jesus message about giving up what one owns. It’s not just about being detached and getting rid of our ”material” possessions but also our ”worldly” riches. The riches of egoism, prestige and desire for power and to commit sin. The desire of pleasure in worldy things. Poor or rich many of us are unwilling to give up these things in order to truly follow Christ.

So here we have Aladdin and the Princess. One rich, the other poor and both miserable. The solution to their depression lies not in their getting of one thing, But their dropping of another, that is, their attachment to the world and all it offers. It is their attachment to materialism amongst other deeper attachments that lay more hidden in their soul that keep them locked in a cage they created for themselves.

God bless

Domestic Monk

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