A Monk is Taught by Saint Poemen the Great to Show Mercy Towards His Brother

St. Poemen the Great

St. Poemen the Great

A brother questioned Abba Poemen saying, ‘If I see a brother whom I have heard is a sinner, I do not want to take him into my cell, but when I see a good brother I am happy to be with him.’ The old man said, ‘If you do a little good to the good brother, do twice as much for the other. For he is sick. Now, there was an anchorite called Timothy in a coenobium. The abbot, having heard of a brother who was being tempted, asked Timothy about him, and the anchorite advised him to drive the brother away. Then when he had been driven away, the brother’s temptation fell upon Timothy to the point where he was in danger. Then Timothy stood up before God and said, “I have sinned. Forgive me.” Then a voice came which said to him, “Timothy, the only reason I have done this to you is because you despised your brother in the time of his temptation.”’

* This excerpt is from “The Sayings of the Desert Fathers” translated by Benedicta Ward

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