The heathen ruler was infuriated when he saw a young deacon encouraging many of the confessors to bear pains for their faith in Christ. The ruler wanted to humiliate him. As he knew of the deacon’s love for reading the bible and church books, he ordered to knock out his eyes. The soldiers rejoiced over him and executed the ordered cruelly imagining that this should by necessity destroy his morale. Shortly after the governor met the deacon to find him rejoicing by the Spirit, thus he was astonished. And as they talked, the deacon said, “I thank you so much. Before, I used to read with my eyes to know more about the secrets of my Lord. However, when you knocked out my eyes my Lord granted me an insight. I now read much with my heart’s eyes. Instead of the physical eyes, I now enjoy having spiritual ones. I’ve known and enjoyed many heavenly matters which books couldn’t reveal.”
The governor wondered, “What shall I do?
I knocked out his eyes yet he saw with his heart what is invisible.
I imprisoned him but he changed the prison into heaven full of joy and praises.
When I torture him he rejoices for sharing with his Christ His pains.
If I kill him, he’ll rejoice more for he yearns to see his Lord.
What to do then?”
This reminds me of the meeting between St. Anthony the great and St. Didymus the blind who lost his eyesight when he was four years.
“Do you grieve for losing your eyesight, Didymus?” St. Anthony asked.
St. Didymus kept silent. Therefore, St. Anthony repeated the question twice. As St. Didymus did not reply, St. Anthony said to him, “Do you grieve for losing your eyesight which all creatures share, Didymus?
Don’t you rejoice with the insight bestowed upon you, which you share with the angels and the heavenly hosts?”
When I possess You, I possess true joy
Which no one can take it from me.
With You my soul rejoices O, the desire of my heart.
How can the world harm me!
During my illness, I see Your hands curing my soul.
And in my pains I converse with You O, The Afflicted.
Even if I am deprived of the bodily eyes,
You grant me Spiritual insight to see You.
If death draws near, the gates of Paradise will open widely before me.
If the world deprives me of its riches,
I will possess You O, the richness of my soul.
With You my joy is full.
When I look forward to the past, I see You changing my faults into good.
Then I look to the present to find You in my bosom.
I look forward to the future joyfully for, You will necessarily come to me.
The Tears of An Old Monk
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