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Lausiac History (Historia Lausiaca) by Palladius Part 19)


Chapter CLI

The life of the BROTHER


who travelled with Palladius I will finish by saying something about the brother who came with me from his youth up to the present day. I have known him for a long time. He was never greedy about his food. He was not distressed by fasting, for he was one who had conquered his emotions. There was never a trace of avarice in him, he was content always with the present moment, he dressed simply, rejoiced when spoken ill of, willing to undergo danger for the sake of his friends, more knowledgeable about the wiles of the demons than thousands of others.

One day the devil tried to make a pact with him.

"Make peace with me," the devil said, "and sin just once, and I will give you whatever you ask for in this life, whether status or riches."

And again, he fought with him and trampled him underfoot for fourteen nights, so he told me.

"Stop worshipping Christ, and I will leave you alone," he said.

"I will worship him all the more," he replied, "and glorify him in many more places. I will pray more often, since worshipping him bodes evil for you."

He stayed for a while in a hundred and six countries, and journeyed through many more. He had never known a woman, not even in dreams, except when fighting the demon of fornication during sleep. I know that an angel brought him food three times when he was hungry. Once when he was in the far desert without a crumb to eat he found three freshly cooked bread rolls in a sheepskin, bread and wine on another occasion. And once a voice came to him, saying:

"I know you are short of food. Go to that man called N..... and he will give you some bread and oil."

So he went to this person.

"Are you the monk in question?" he was asked.

"I am," he replied.

"The head of the family has told me to give you thirty rolls of bread and twelve measures of oil."

There are other sides to his nature which I can describe and glory in. I have known him shed tears over those who had to work very hard for hardly any reward; he would share with them whatever he had apart from selling himself into slavery. I have known him shed tears over those who have fallen into serious sin, and I have seen his tears move sinners to repentance. He once said to me, 'I have begged God that no one, especially if they are rich and respectable, need ever find me such an object of pity that they felt obliged to provide me with the necessities of life.'

For myself it is sufficient that I have been found worthy to commit to writing all I could remember. It could not have been done without the help of God who inspired you to encourage me to write this book of the lives of the holy and blessed Fathers.
And you, Lausus, most faithful and venerable servant of Christ, my most dear and closest friend, as you read this book may you find it is an aid to your immortal soul in the resurrection of the just. May you cherish the way of life followed by these famous athletes, their labours, and the manner in which they endured the pains of living in such an austere way. Use these things as an example for yourself, sustained by an imperishable good hope, realising how short are the days that have already passed by, and pray for me as you keep yourself free from evil and maintain your integrity, as I know you have done consistently from the time of the consulate of Tatian right up to the present day. Your personal character has now been rewarded by being given the post of [the Emperor's] personal private secretary (praepositum pii cubiculi). Although you have been given such a high dignity, with all the many great dangers which come with such great power, you have not acted otherwise than the fear of God demands.

"All these things I will give you if you fall down and worship me," (Matthew 4.9) is what the man dedicated to God hears the devil say. But the Lord gives him the grace to be able to say, "Get thee behind me."

Do you, therefore, walk in the same path. Care not for riches or the fragile glory of this present world. Strive after the immortal life of heaven, the eternal kingdom, the everlasting glory, and those hidden good things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, and which have not entered into the human heart, which God has stored up for us along with the holy patriarchs and prophets, the apostles and martyrs and those whose memory we have celebrated in this book through the grace of our Saviour Jesus Christ, to whom be glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit, unto the ages of ages.Amen

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