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Short Stories (Stories for the Youth), book by Father Tadros Yacoub Malaty

561- I've Sinned, Forgive me


Marina the Deceptive

The abbot went out to see some men who came to meet him. He saw them angry against all the monks. When he asked them about the reason, they said, "We want to see Marina. Where's he?"

The abbot wanted to calm them but to no avail. One of them said, "I want to see Marina, that adulterer who came to stay the night in my hotel some months ago, he raped my daughter. Is that our reward for accepting monks in our hotels? Are these the teachings of your Christianity or the rules of your monasticism?" Image: The new icon of Saint Marina (Marin) the Monk in Cyprus. Photo courtesy of the Maronite Bishopric of Cyprus Sacred Art Atelier, Nicosia, Cyprus, February 2000. صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: القديسة مارينا الراهب، أيقونة حديثة في قبرص. الصورة من أتيليه الفن المقدس في الأسقفية المارونية في قبرص. Image: The new icon of Saint Marina (Marin) the Monk in Cyprus. Photo courtesy of the Maronite Bishopric of Cyprus Sacred Art Atelier, Nicosia, Cyprus, February 2000.

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: القديسة مارينا الراهب، أيقونة حديثة في قبرص. الصورة من أتيليه الفن المقدس في الأسقفية المارونية في قبرص.

The abbot was greatly touched and confused not knowing what to do. He could never believe that young Marina the holy, gentle and ascetic could do this. He asked in a calm manner that hid behind great anger and perplexity, "Are you sure of what you're saying?"

The man angrily replied, "I'm not lying. My daughter is pregnant and she told me everything. He's a fox in the garment of a lamb. I know how to reveal his reality. I'll avenge my dignity and chastise him as you don't know how to do it."

The abbot knew how this man suffered especially because Marina went to the hotel with three other monks few months before to buy some needs for the monastery. He calmed the man saying, "Don't be afraid brother for, we won't allow such a person to stay among us. We'll let him know how to preserve himself and respect others. We'll expel him until he repents."

After many discussions, the man calmed down and said, "Then, we'll bring him the baby to bring it up. Just call him for I want to rebuke him."

Marina came and as he heard what had happened, he cried with his eyes flowing with tears, "Forgive me my brothers. I've sinned, forgive me. I'll be responsible for the child. I'll work and fight, just forgive me."

After reproaching him bitterly, the men went out leaving him in his tears as the abbot was apologizing to them. Divider

Marina Expelled

The bell rang and the monks gathered to find the abbot very angry, in front of him, Marina stood crying bitterly. The abbot said, "Beloved fathers and brethren, I don't know what to say as it's very shameful. A monk whom I thought to be righteous and chaste does such a shameful evil! He ruined himself, blemished our reputation and corrupted the image of Jesus Christ in front of people. He raped the daughter of the owner of the hotel. Though we love him as a brother, we should punish him. But how can we chastise him? We'll oblige him to some laws and expel him from the monastery with the baby which the girl's relatives will bring. He'll stay out till he repents truly."

Then, Marina bowed to the ground making a prostration and saying in tears, "Forgive me, my fathers, I've sinned. I've sinned against God, you and myself. Forgive me for I'm young and the devil deceived me but I know that I've no excuse. You're saints and I don't deserve to live among you. Dismiss me for I'm a bad leaven. Pray for me for I'm weak."

Marina could not utter another word but wandered with his thoughts in the sins that he committed while still young and said, "Marina, Marina!

My soul, look how many sins you committed when you were young.

See how much evil you did, you're now defamed.

May I be defamed here not there. Image: Saint Marina the 'Monk' صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: الناسكة القديسة مارينا الراهب

Don't be angry for what had happened but for your sins.

Lord, here I am at Your Hands, chastise me, try me and purify my kidneys."

As he was thus thinking, the monks were amazed.

One of them said, "If he didn't confess I wouldn't believe." Another one said, "If a gentle monk like this did so what will the others do then?"

A third one said, "How deceiving is the devil of hypocrisy. He deceived us with his hypocrisy."

Others began to insult him whereas he did not utter a word. He only said, "Forgive me, my brethren. I don't deserve to live among you.

→ English translation of the story here at أخطأت سامحني. Divider

Amid that stormy atmosphere, many elderly monks sighed saying, "Lord, Keep his soul from being ruined by the devil of despair.";

"Lord, keep Your children for, the enemy keeps vigilant to devour us all.";

"God, forgive me and him for, we're all sinners."

An elderly monk then said to the abbot, "Father let's not be rash for, Marina's our son. Who's without sin among us? Brethren, war is waged against us all. He whoever is not fought by the devil of lust is fought by that of pride, laziness or gluttony. Brethren, your brother needs your prayers. Pray for him and me."

The abbot then dismissed the monks after they had prayed the Lord lead them not into temptation.

The abbot imposed upon Marina a strict law, dismissed him and left him on the gate of the monastery weeping. He stayed thus for several months until the men came and gave him the child. Marina was dismissed from the monastery along with his son and many people desired not to see him. Marina carried his child, some necessary objects and the reproaches of many. He went out with tears falling down from his eyes saying, "Work hard Marina, for, now you've a son. This is for your spiritual benefit and edification. Image: Saint Marina the 'Monk' صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: الناسكة القديسة مارينا الراهب

Work hard, you were responsible only for yourself but now you're responsible for your son also.

Work hard for, there're saintly monks praying for you.

He left the monastery to find himself unable to walk. He knelt before the closed door of the monastery and raised his hands praying, "Father God,

Who was crucified for my sake,

You bore the reproaches of those who reproached You without complaining in spite of being Righteous and Holy and able to render them mute.

What can I say, my Lord, about my many sins?

I deserve to be reproached.

Lord, let me accept reproach for the sake of loving You.

You were expelled and You died for me thus, I long to share with You in being dismissed not having where to put my head.

Father, I don't deserve to live among the saints for I've sinned.

Forgive me for the sake of Your Holy Blood and don't deprive me of having a share in Heaven like them. "

Marina stood to kiss the door of the monastery saying, "Can I return to the monastery to serve these saintly monks?"

He carried his child and little dry bread and milk for the baby. Divider Image: Saint Marina the 'Monk' صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: الناسكة القديسة مارينا الراهب

Hours passed as if they were long years. Marina did not know what to do. He was at a loss because of the baby as to from where to get him milk and where to stay with in the desert. He only knew that God Almighty did this for his edification and the baby's. He walked till he met a shepherd who greeted him. The shepherd wondered, as to Who this man was and how he came there with this baby. When he asked him, Marina answered, "I'm a stranger, having a baby but no work to do. I just want to work to get daily food for the baby and me, to find somewhere to stay in."

The shepherd felt attracted to the man and loved him. He said to him, "Brother, I see that you're gentle. My sheep is yours, my tent is yours and all that's mine is yours."

Marina thanked him and shepherded the flock with him. Marina never got weary of work. He went out in the early morning carrying his baby and citing his psalms, bearing the severe cold and the hot weather without complaint. Divider

A Baby in the Desert

Though he was at a loss, Marina was joyful and having peace. He saw the desert as a beautiful paradise created for his sake. In it, he walked carrying his baby talking to God, cited the psalms, singing and contemplating on his Creator's love to him. As he had no experience in bringing up children, many a time, he carried his baby on his hands and stood looking upward to Heaven and praying, "Father who loved me and whom I love

Accept my son as a blessed offering to You.

Prepare him for baptism and keep him in Your Love.

Let him know You and love You.

Be his joy.

May You be his Food and Drink.

May You be his Shepherd, Leader and the Keeper of his heart.

O You who carry all mankind, let him carry You in his heart and let him be drunk with Your love.

O You, who engraved his name with wounds on Your Palms, let him call You from his heart and be obsessed with You forever.

O the True Light, enlighten his heart.

May You be his Sun and Day, with Your Light, we see light.

Mix his sleep with Your love so that the devil of laziness may escape from him.

May You be his home so that in You, he may find shelter.

Grant him to be baptized and be a temple for the Holy Spirit.

O the True Shepherd and Lover, embrace him."

Marina thus always prayed for his son whom he soon baptized and was his godfather. Divider Image: Saint Marina the 'Monk' صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: الناسكة القديسة مارينا الراهب

Returning to the Monastery

Three years after being dismissed, Marina returned to the monastery where the abbot accepted him. No sooner had the monks heard about his return than many of them went out furious because of the adulterer monk who defamed them in the whole city to the extent that no monk could ever spent the night in any public place.

Marina listened patiently to these bitter blames. Marina lived among the monks with his son who loved God and worshipped Him as he learnt from his father. Then, the abbot accepted him as a monk in the monastery. The son led a sacred life for he used to talk with his father about Gods wonders and love. Marina told his son the whole truth in order to prepare him to bear being blamed without complaint raising his heart to the heavenly matters. He also taught him how to love all people without favoritism, without being concerned with peoples praises or blames. Whenever they met with the monks, they would talk about the work of the Holy Trinity and Gods love. Divider

The young man died and Marina remained alone with his intimate friend Jesus. He prayed for his son with tears and asked for his sons prayers. Forty years after returning to the monastery, he fell very sick and departed from this world. The knell rang and the monks gathered to hear of his death. However, some of them did not stop blaming him even after his death. Many of them said, That adulterer has died. What did his lusts profit him? He tortured himself and defamed us all. Others said, Lets forget his deed for, he wronged us greatly. While others lifted up their hearts to heaven praying God to accept his repentance and repose his soul in the bosom of the saints. Divider

Some monks entered his cell with the abbot to wash his body. When an elderly monk died all would hurry to take blessing from his pure virgin body. Nevertheless, as for Marina, no one cared for this. No sooner had one of the monks undressed him to wash his body than he threw the garment on the corpse crying, Ive sinned, forgive me.

All the attendants were astonished and asked him why he wept. He said while weeping, Its a woman! Its a woman! Weve wronged her.

The abbot knelt to the ground and kissed her feet asking for forgiveness saying, Ive sinned, forgive me. Shes a nun, a saint.

All who wronged her wept bitterly asking for forgiveness and those who felt how she had been patient and long-suffering shouted joyfully. All people in the city knew the matter and all went to be blessed by her whom they wronged.

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