The monk Demonilos entered the church and bowed down in front of the sanctuary. As he entered the sanctuary, he became very upset. He saw the priest together with an evil man. The man had thrown himself at the feet of the priest crying. The monk spoke harshly to the priest saying, “How could you allow this evil man to enter the sanctuary to defile it?”
The priest left the sanctuary with tears running down his face.
The monk wrote to Deonysius the Areopagite to inform him of the incident, proud that he had saved the sanctuary from this evil man and this reckless priest. The response that he received was:
“No, you did not save the sanctuary from being defiled.
You yourself sinned for you did not show mercy.
Christ showed mercy towards the lowest of His creatures,
Will you make yourself above Christ?”
He also told him the following story:
“While I was in Crete, I was welcomed by a pious priest called Carbos. That priest spent long hours in quiet meditation and was given grace to see visions during the holy sacraments. This priest told me that he felt very hopeless when a non-believer entered the church and attracted a Christian man to participate in an idol worshiping feast immediately after he had enjoyed baptism. The priest continued praying for both the Christian and the non-Christian. He consecrated many days and months to pray for them but they continued more in their ways so he asked God to take vengeance on them, especially that they were striving to tempt other believers.
His hatred to them increased so he asked God for fire to consume them. When he asked this of the Lord, the house shook, the roof split and fire came down from heaven to his feet, and then he saw Christ surrounded by His angels in heaven. Carbos looked up with great fear to see the Lord Christ in His glory, then he looked down under his feet and the earth split up and a great abyss opened. He saw the two sinners standing on the edge of the abyss. Two great serpents came out and moved towards them and wrapped themselves around their legs. The serpents were using all their energy to push them. They bit them and played with them to attempt to push them in. Suddenly, a group of people appeared and they almost fell from the push of the people and the serpents.
The priest became so involved in the events that he forgot the open doors of heaven. He did not raise his eyes to see Christ with His angels. He stood quietly for a long time wondering why the Lord had left them on the edge. Finally, he ran towards them and started pushing them with all his might but could not. He became very angry. He looked up to heaven to complain to God for His patience and mercy.
When he looked, he saw all kindness and mercy. The Lord left His throne and went to the sinners. He stretched out His arms to pull them and the angels came down to minister to them.
Christ looked at the priest and said, “I’m willing to die for the salvation of men although I committed no sin. Do you prefer to throw sinners in hell or live with God and His angels that are also good and lovers of mankind?”
Teach Me To Love Sinners.
You suffered death on behalf of the sinners.
Grant me to love them as You do and not to ask for revenge.
By Your longsuffering, You converted the persecutor Saul into an apostle.
Grant me the hope of the salvation even for those who oppose the truth.
Let All Enjoy the Gods
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