Brothers, why are we so susceptible to sin? That is because we don’t consider its consequences. We want to taste the sordid sweetness of the sin, and we do not want to think about anything else. “Er, whatever, that’s fine, God will forgive everything,” we say and rush to commit sins like a fish that swallows the hook. This is how we fall prey to the devil. That’s not right. To avoid sinning, we should reflect on the results that will befall us if we commit the sin, and then eschew it like the plague. Monk Julian told this story about his own life: “I was sitting in my cave near the Jordan one day. It was scorching hot outdoors. Suddenly, someone knocked at my door. I opened it and saw a woman. “Why are you here?” I asked. The woman replied, “I live not far from you in a small cave, and I’m lost. Please show me the road to the south and give me something to drink. I’m dying of thirst.” I gave her some water. She drank it and went away. As soon as she left, I felt the sinful urge. I took my rod and hurried after the woman to commit fornication. But then, the Lord intervened. While I was chasing the woman, I suddenly felt ecstatic and saw that the earth ripped in front of me and exposed heaps of foul-smelling decaying bodies. I saw a man wearing priestly garments who pointed at those corpses and said to me, “There is a female body and a male body over there: Go and commit your sin. Those people were just like you; they were enslaved to their passions and died in sin. Their bones were crushed, and their souls suffer in hell. Is it the pleasure worth ruining all your efforts and losing the Kingdom of Heaven? Do you prefer to suffer eternal torture for this? Oh foolish people who give up eternal good in favor of just one hour of pleasure!” The smell was so strong that I collapsed. The man lifted me up, and I realized that the sexual urge was gone. I went back home praising God who rescued me from sin and the bitter torment that fornicators shall suffer.
Now look, brothers: what was it that almost led the monk to perdition? It was his lack of reason. He felt the urge to commit a sin and immediately took his rod and followed it. He didn’t think of the consequences that awaited him. If only he brought to mind that the sin he was going to commit was a deadly sin; if only he remembered that the wages of that sin was death, judgment, and eternal suffering with the devil; if only he thought about it and knelt before the Lord asking him to help him to overcome that sin, he wouldn’t even start his rush towards damnation. That’s how passions make us blind!
Let us be cautious and flee from sin like the plague. Let us remind ourselves of the Judgment Day and of the fact that we will have to confess our sins not only in front of the Lord but also in front of thousands upon thousands of Angels and men. Let us remember that the Judge is just: He will give to each according to their deeds. Let us recall it in the time of temptation so that sins would stay away from us.
So help us God! Amen.
A Story from The Spiritual Meadow. How an Angel Saved Monk Julian from Fornication. Prologue.
Translated by The Catalog of Good Deeds