The Departure of St. Silvanus the monk
On this day the holy father Abba Silvanus the monk departed. This blessed man became a monk in the monastery of St. Macarius, and he strove in every narrow path. He fasted for long periods with prayers and many vigils in humility and love and he became a great father. God had granted him to see Divine visions. He commanded his disciples never to cease working with their hands, and to give alms with what surpassed their needs.
One day a lazy monk saw him with his disciple absorbed in working with their hands, and he said to them: "Do not labor for the food which perishes" for it is written: "Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her." When the old man Abba Silvanus heard that, he told his disciple: "Give the father a book, take him to the church to read, and shut the door on him without leaving with him any thing to eat;" and the disciple did as he was commanded. When the ninth hour came the old man and his disciples ate and did not invite the monk. During that time the monk was gazing with his eyes toward the door waiting for someone to invite him to eat.
When he became very hungry, he left the church and asked the old man: "Have the brethren eaten to day?" and St. Silvanus replied "Yes". The monk asked: "Why you did not call me to eat with them?" He replied: "You are a spiritual man has no need for food for the body. You have chosen the good part, but we are humans in need of food for the body, for this reason we need the work of our hands." The monk knew that he had transgressed with his words and he bowed before the holy man asking for his forgiveness. The holy man told the monk: "O my son we need to work, for Mary needs Martha, and through Martha, Mary was praised." Thus the monk was rebuked by the teaching of this father, and he worked with his hands continually, and he gave alms with what remained over.
This father wrote many helpful discourses about the spiritual strife. When he finished his strife in a good old age, God made him know the time of his departure. He called the monks that were near by, he was blessed by them, and he asked them to remember him in their prayers, then departed in peace.
May his prayers be with us. Amen.
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