Saturday, July 11, 2009

Saying of the Desert Christians: Gentleness 7


We came near to a tree, led by our kindly host, and there we stumbled upon a lion. At the sight of him my guide and I quaked, but the saintly old man went unfaltering on and we followed him. The wild beast - you would say it was at the command of God - modestly withdrew a little way and sat down, while the old man plucked the fruit from the lower branches. He held out his hand, full of dates; and up the creature ran and took them as frankly as any tame animal about the house; and when it had finished eating, it went away. We stood watching and trembling; reflecting as well we might what valour of faith was in him and what poverty of spirit in us.

Some thoughts:

I am pretty confident that we have here another bit of hagiography. A lion eating dates? But I would so like to be the sort of person from whose hand a lion would eat. I love cats, all cats, and I have often fantasized that I could walk up to one of the big cats and they would just feel the love I have for them and they would be friendly and affectionate.

How much more wonderful, though, if we Christians had that effect upon our fellow human beings.


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