Sunday, 10 March 2013

The Demons and the Monk - Life of Fr. Benyamin the Hermit

Fr. Benyamin the Hermit

  The visitors sensed that he spoke with difficulty especially in the beginning where he would be silent for a while before he started talking to them with the least amount of words.

When he wanted to return to praying with a low voice he sought the guidance of his spiritual father which showed the great care the Father gave to his spiritual life.

In Salam Hospital which he spend his last few days in, he would be bothered by the crowds of people (visitors who were relatives of hospital patients). Because of this, he started behaving differently to make them leave his room. He would begin weeping when this would happen and when those close to him asked him of his scandalous behavior, they found out that he wasn’t at rest with the behavior of the visitors (how they flocked to him in crowds).

Some of the Fathers who knew him well said that he received his guests cheerfully and with joy, but he would end up taking away the time he spent with them from his sleep so as not to reduce from his rule and struggle.

Despite his great labors near the end of his life, he would pray the Divine Liturgy standing in all humility and reverence, refusing to receive the Holy Mysteries on his sickbed and always insisted on attending the liturgy when he wanted to partake of the Communion saying, “I must live the Eucharistic journey.”

His Warfare with the Devil:

He endured many fights from the demons who tried to make him doubt the path he has taken. Like everyone else, he suffered, was bothered, and endured grief and faintheartedness. He told some of the Fathers that many times he felt the weight of this warfare, as if the devil stood menacingly before him and sometimes face to face.

He once said that sometimes during prayer he felt as if someone was trying to shut his mouth to stop him from praying, telling us at other times when he stood for prayer he

felt as if something was weighing down on him preventing him from standing. Also, when he felt that his thoughts began to scatter in his mind, as a result of the demons’ wars he would yell in a loud voice “Liars, liars…” like how Christ described them, the enemy, the devil the liar and the father of it (John 8:44)... to dispel the war of thoughts.

Some of the Fathers heard him when he was in his cell in the monastery during the period of his illness, yelling at night in a frightening way, calling for God and the saints. He lived in the monastery near a blind monk, the monk would move quietly towards his cell and when he knocked on the door of the cell with his stick, the demons would disperse and the fight would fade.

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