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Parable of the Day: Commiting the Least Dangerous Sin



There was a hermit in Egypt who was troubled by a demon for many years. Finally, the demon promised the monk that he wouldn’t tempt him any longer if he agrees to commit any one of the following three sins: murder, fornication, or inebriety. The demon said, “Just do any of these sins: kill a man, or commit fornication, or drink a lot of alcohol just once and I promise you that you will live happily and peacefully ever after. I won’t bother you anymore.” The hermit thought to himself, “Murder is scary: it’s punishable by death both in the eyes of God and by the civil authorities. If I commit fornication and lose my chastity, I’d miss it, and it’s really appaling. The third option seems much easier: drinking alcohol isn’t a grave sin after all, and I’ll get sober again the following day. So why not go and drink some booze? The demon won’t tempt me and I’ll stay in the desert peacefully.” The monk took the items that he had made with his own hands, went to the nearest town and sold them. Then he went to a tavern and drank a lot of wine. He met a shameless and adulterous woman in that tavern and was aroused. When he was with her, her husband broke in and discovered them. The angry husband started beating the monk up, but the latter fought back and managed to kill the man.

Thus, the hermit committed all three sins, inebriety, fornication, and murder. He had been afraid and averted by those sins while he had been sober but easily committed them while drunk and ruined his lifelong efforts to become holy. It took him a while to find them again using honest and sincere repentance thanks to God’s boundless mercy.

Translated by The Catalog of Good Deeds

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