Fasting with the Fathers, Day One

ak_2018_08_14_1They used to say about Abba Paphnutius that he would not readily drink wine, and that on one occasion he came by chance upon a band of thieves, and found them drinking; and the captain of the thieves recognized him, and knew that he never drank wine; and he looked closely at him and saw that he was a man of great ascetic works.

And the captain filled a cup with wine and, taking a sword in his hand, he said unto the old man, “If thou wilt not drink I will slay thee.” And the old man knew that the grace of God wished to work on the captain of the thieves through him, and sought to do good to him, so he took the cup and drank the wine.

Then the captain made excuse to him and said, “Forgive me, father, for having distressed thee.” And the old man said unto him, “I believe, by God, that through this cup God will forgive thee thy sins.” And the captain of thieves said unto him, “I believe, by God; from this time forth I will never vex any man.”

Thus, because for God’s sake Paphnutius gave up his own wish, he was able to do good to all that band of thieves.

Paradisus Patrum

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