ADVENT FIRE: December 16

ADVENT FIRE: December 16

From Becoming Fire: Through the Year with the Desert Fathers and Mothers 

Paradise Regained*

The four young men continued: “Now when we had gone some distance into the desert, an ecstatic vision suddenly came upon us: a man, wholly of light, took us by the hand and brought us here.  Now when we had come to this place we found a holy man of God, and the angel of the Lord entrusted us to him and for a year of days he set about teaching us to be servants of God.  When the year was finished, the holy and blessed old man died and we remained alone here.  Our lord brother, we confess to you in the Lord that it has been sixty years and we have not known the taste of bread or any other kind of food except the fruit from these trees which we live on.  When we wish to see each other we gather here each week to see one another.  We spend the whole night of the Lord’s day together and afterwards each of us goes and lives his own ascetic life.”

I said to them, “Where do you gather for the Eucharist?”

They said to me, “We assemble right here for that purpose, and every Sabbath an angel of God comes and gives us Communion on the Sabbath and on the Lord’s day.

Now I stayed with them and greatly rejoiced.  They said to me, “On the seventh day of the week an angel of the Lord will give Communion to us and to you together, and the person who receives Communion from the hand of that angel will be washed clean from all sin and the Adversary will in no way have power over him.”

Now while we were talking together I smelled a powerful fragrance whose like I had never smelled.  As soon as the fragrance washed over us we got up and stood and praised God.  Afterwards the angel came and gave us Communion together by means of the body and blood of the Lord.  Now because of the fearful sight I had seen I became like those who are asleep.  The angel blessed us and ascended into Heaven as we watched him with our eyes.  When he had gone, they brought me to my senses and said to me, “Be strong and resolved and be a person of determination.”  Immediately I became sober-minded like those recovering from the influence of wine.  And we spent the whole night of the Lord’s day standing and praying until morning.

*Continued from December 15.

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