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Bless my Enemies

From the Sayings of the Desert Fathers and Mothers:

Once there was a disciple of a Greek philosopher who was commanded by his Master for three years to give money to everyone who insulted him. When this period of trial was over, the Master said to him: "Now you can go to Athens and learn wisdom."

When the disciple was entering Athens, he met a certain wise man who sat at the gate and insulted everybody who came and went. He also insulted the disciple, who immediately burst out laughing.

"Why do you laugh when I insult you?" said the wise man.

"Because," said the disciple, "for three years I have been paying for this kind of thing -- and now you give it to me for nothing!"

"Enter the city," said the wise man, "it is all yours."

Abba John used to tell this story, saying: "This is the door of God by which our fathers, rejoicing in many tribulations, enter into the City of Heaven.


From a prayer by Bishop Nicholas of Zitsa:

Bless my enemies, Lord...

Whenever I have hesitated to punish myself, they have punished me.
Whenever I have flattered myself, they have scolded me.
Whenever I have filled myself with arrogance, they have spat upon me.
Whenever I have made myself wise, they have called me a fool.
Whenever I have made myself mighty, they have mocked me as though I were a dwarf.

Bless them... so that my heart may become the grave of my two evil twins:
arrogance and anger... so that I may for once be freed from self-deception,
which has entangled me in the dreadful web of illusory life.