Some people noticed that St. John the Short, often fled to his cell to get away from everybody. A monk asked him about the reason. He answered, “I’m like a person sitting under a big tree watching out for vultures and wolves coming towards him. If he couldn’t meet them he would flee and go up the tree to escape. So here I am sitting in my cell seeing all the bad thoughts coming at me. If I can’t ward them off, I flee to God with praying and I’m saved.” So he used to flee, not to escape his work with his brothers, but to keep his inner peace with God.
Another time, he came to church and he heard some brothers having a very loud discussion. He went back to his cell, went around it three times, and then went inside. Being asked why he did so, he answered, “The sound of the discussion was still in my head and I wanted to get it out before entering my cell so that in my cell my brain would be pure.”
God, help me go deep inside myself,
And close the door of my senses so that I can be with You only.
I get to know myself and to see You incarnated in me.
Let me flee to You and go up with You on the tree of the cross,
So that the vultures would not come near me,
Judge Yourself Before Others
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