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Escaping To The Desert

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A young man desired to renounce and abandon the world, and many times set off to fulfil his desire. However, as soon as he would get outside the city to leave for the monastery, his decision would be overturned by thoughts suggesting to him that he supposedly had first to take care of certain necessary matters, since this young man was also wealthy.

Now, one day he undertook anew to fulfil his desire and resolutely departed from the city. As usual, however, he was again possessed by temptations, which, in order to obstruct him and make him turn back, darkened his mind with sundry thoughts. As soon as he realized the warring force of these thoughts, and having no other way in which to react against them, he started to undress and to cast off from himself all his clothes, running naked to reach the monastery quickly.

God then revealed to an Elder who knew the youth, and to whom he was so furiously running, the youth’s intentions and said to him: “Arise, in order to welcome my athlete.” Indeed, the elder went out of his cell to go meet the youth. When he learned of the entire matter, he welcomed the victor with kindness and immediately considered him worthy of the Monastic Schema. After this, whenever monks would visit the elder to ask him about their temptations, he would answer accordingly, if the thoughts concerned other matters; but if they referred to matters of renouncing the world, he would send them over to his disciple and say to them: “Ask the brother about these matters.”

From: The Evergetinos