A Year with the Saints – 20 March


Do not weary thyself in vain; for you wilt never succeed in possessing true spiritual sweetness and satisfaction, unless you first deny all thy desires. – Saint John of the Cross

The Abbot Ellem, as we read in the Lives of the Fathers, saw a honeycomb hanging from a rock and some fruit that had fallen from a tree, but he abstained from them. He then fell into a sleep, from which he was wakened by an Angel, when he found himself by the side of a fountain surrounded by the freshest herbs, some of which he ate, and declared that he had never before tasted so great a delicacy.

Eriberto Rosveido relates of Saint Macarius of Alexandria that, to overcome drowsiness, which annoyed him greatly, he never entered his cell for twenty consecutive days and nights; and when he was compelled by necessity to take some sleep, he took it with his head resting against a wall. He also says that being grievously assailed by sensual temptations, he remained for six months in a swamp, with his naked body exposed to the stings of the gnats, which in that region are as large as wasps; and when he came out he was so covered with swellings and sores that he looked like a leper. The Saint also once said of himself that he never took what he desired either of bread or water, but always took bread by weight, and water by measure; and that by mortifying his appetites in this manner, he merited so many graces from God, and advanced so much in the love and knowledge of Him, that he was wont to pass whole days and nights uninterruptedly in the sweetest contemplation.

MLA Citation