From Becoming Fire: Through the Year with the Desert Fathers and Mothers
Bread From God
Now when I saw that it was not God’s will that I remain there, I stretched out my hands and prayed to the Lord and suddenly the man who had come to me the first time and had strengthened me came to me again as he had done the first time. He said to me, Paphnutius, our Lord has informed me today that you were coming to us in this place. You’re the first person we’ve seen in sixty years.” When we had spent some time talking with each other, finally they said to me, “Brother, strengthen yourself with a little bread, for you have come a great distance. The Lord has determined that we are to remain together for a few days and we will rejoice with you, our beloved brother.”
Now while we were talking together, five loaves of bread were brought in, warm and fresh as though straight from the oven; furthermore, in quick succession other dishes were brought in. We sat down and ate together and he said to me, “See, we have been here sixty years, and four loaves of bread have been allotted to us each day, and these came to us from God. Now since you have come to us today, look, a fifth loaf has been brought for you. We have never known where they came from, but when we come in we find them sitting here.”
When we finished eating together we spent the whole night in prayer until morning. When morning came, I entreated them to let me stay with them until the day of my death. They said to me, “Our fellow-laborer, it has not been determined that you should stay here. Rather, rise and go to Egypt and tell those whom you see that the brethren here keep them in their thoughts, and it will profit those who listen.”
Now I entreated them to tell me their names but they refused to say them. I tried to force them, but again they would not tell me their names. They answered and said, “The one who has given names to everything and who knows everything, he is the one who knows our names. Now, then, our brother, remember us until we see you in the house of God. Be careful that you not allow the world to deceive you as it has done to so many.”
When they finished saying these things, they blessed me and bid me farewell, and I left their mountain.