The Shepherd, May 2010
FROM THE FATHERS
“ABBA MACARIUS the Egyptian once went up from Scete to the Nitrian mountain, and as he drew near to a certain place, he said to his disciple, ‘Go on a little ahead of me.' And when he had done so, there met him a certain pagan priest, who was running along, carrying some wood, about noon time. And that brother cried out to him, and said; ‘O minister of devils, where are you running?’ And the priest turned round and smote him with many severe blows, and left him with very little breath left in him, and he took up his wood and went on his way. When he had gone a little further, the blessed Macarius met him on his journey, and said unto him, ‘May you be helped, O man of labours!’ And the priest was astonished, and came to him, and said, ‘What fair thing have you seen in me that you greet me so?’ And the Elder said to him, ‘I can see you toiling, and you do not know that you are toiling for nothing.’ Then he said to the Elder, ‘When you greeted me I was very low, but I realised that you belong to the Great God. However, a wicked monk met me just before you did, and he cursed me, and I smote him near unto death.’ And the Elder understood that it was his disciple. And the priest laid hold of the feet of Macarius, and said to him, 'I will not let go until you make me a monk.' And they came to the place where the brother was lying, and carried him and brought him to the church of the mountain. Now when the fathers saw the pagan priest with him, they marvelled that he had been converted from the error which he had held; and Macarius took him and made him a monk, and through him many of the pagans became Christian. And Abba Macarius said, ‘“An evil word makes even those that are good wicked, and a good word makes even those that are wicked good," as it is written.'"
From the paradise of the fathers