Turn the Other Cheek – From the Desert Fathers

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The daughter of a certain rich man in Alexandria was suddenly seized by a wicked spirit and was tormented severely. Her father spent much money in order to make her well. But fruitlessly. The condition of the young girl became worse all the time. Somehow the Father learned that a hermit‚ who lived alone up on a mountain‚ had the gift from God to cast out demons. He was told‚ however‚ that the hermit was so humble that he would never agree to perform such a cure. So the nobleman had to find some other pretext by which to get him to his home.

One day the hermit went down to the city to sell his baskets. The father of the girl sent a servant to buy some and to invite the hermit home to be paid. He unsuspectingly went. As soon as he set foot in the door‚ the demonized girl‚ who was hidden behind the door‚ rushed at him and gave him a hard slap across the face. The holy hermit‚ without losing his calm‚ turned his other cheek‚ thus carrying out the commandment of the Lord.

Then this surprising incident took place: the demonized girl began to quiver wildly and to utter despairing cries: “O‚ hurry! I must leave. I cannot stay any longer. The commandment of Christ is casting me out.”

With those words‚ the tormented creature was set free. The whole family‚ along with the daughter‚ who had regained her rational powers‚ glorified God for the great miracle which they had seen with their own eyes and looked for the holy elder so they could thank him. He‚ however‚ fleeing from all human praise‚ had totally disappeared.

When the Fathers in the desert were informed of these facts‚ they said among themselves that nothing so puts down the pride of the devil as humility and obedience to the divine commandments.

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