sábado, 7 de fevereiro de 2015

Rufinus of Aquileia (345-410) relates in this connection a tale worthy to be chosen among a hundred. There once lived, in a cave in the desert, a monk, a man of the greatest abstinence, adorned with all the virtues, and accustomed to spend his days and his nights in prayer. This monk, observing the progress that he was making in holiness, began to be puffed up and to attribute entirely to himself the merit which belonged to God alone. The demon, perceiving this, was not slow in preparing and laying his snares. And lo, one evening there appeared before the cave of the holy man a very beautiful woman, who, entering within and feigning to be utterly wearied and spent, cast herself at his feet and besought him most earnestly to grant her shelter; night had overtaken her in the desert; let him, in charity, not leave her a prey to the wild beasts. He, moved to pity, receives her kindly, and begins to question her regarding the reason for her journey; she tells a story that she has ingeniously concocted and spices the tale with flatteries and blandishments; showing herself now worthy of commiseration, now deserving of protection; and with the elegance and charm of her discourse she beguiles and vanquishes the soul of the good man. Little by little, the conversation waxes more intimate; with words are mingled laughter and jesting; until, grown bolder, she ventures to lay hold on his beard and gently to caress his neck and throat. And lo, already the soldier of Christ is conquered! Devoured by the flames of lust, oblivious of his past, heedless of the fruit of so many struggles steadfastly endured, become (says Rufinus) like a mere beast, already he is making ready for the lewd embrace. But at that very instant, the false apparition, uttering a fearful screech, fled from his arms, leaving him in a most indecorous and ridiculous attitude (Rufinus gives fuller details). Then the demons, who had gathered in great numbers in the air as spectators of the foul deed, began to mock him, crying in a loud voice: "O thou that didst extol thyself even to heaven, how art thou now thrust down into hell! Know now that whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased." After this adventure, the ill advised monk despairing of salvation returned to the world and, wholly abandoning himself to debauchery and wickedness, yielded himself irrevocably a prey to Satan.

Arturo Graf, Art of the Devil (Col. Temporis),
Parkstone Press International, New York,
ISBN: 978-1-78042-994-6