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Stories From The Sayings Of The Desert Fathers


The Naked Beggar and the Monk

One of the Fathers went off to the city to sell his manual work, and seeing a naked beggar he was moved by compassion and gave him his own habit. The poor man went and sold it. When he heard what he had done, the old man was very annoyed and regretted giving him the habit. That night Christ appeared to the old man in a dream; he was wearing the habit and said to him, ‘Do not grieve, for see I am wearing that which you have given me.’

A Monk Keeping a Sum of Money

He also said, ‘There was a distinguished officer who had renounced everything and distributed his goods to the poor. He kept a little bit for his personal use because he did not want to accept the humiliation that comes from total renunciation, nor did he sincerely want to submit to the rule of the monastery. Saint Basil said to him, “You have lost your senatorial rank without becoming a monk.”’

Lazarus the Poor Man

One of the old men said concerning Lazarus, the poor man, “We cannot find that Lazarus ever did one excellent thing except that he never murmured against the rich man as being one who had never shown him an act of mercy but he bore his infirmity with the giving of thanks, and because of this God took him to Himself.”