A story from St. Gregory’s Dialogues to encourage us to guard against Lust

November 12, 2021 • 2 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 351

But, as one of the most important remedies is avoiding dangerous occasions, we shall give an example from the “Dialogues” of St. Gregory to show you with what prudence holy souls guard this angelic virtue.

There lived in the province of Mysia a holy priest who was filled with the fear of God, and who governed his church with zeal and wisdom.

A very virtuous woman had charge of the altar and church furniture. This holy soul the priest loved as a sister, but he was as guarded in his intercourse with her as if she were his enemy.

He never permitted her to approach him or converse familiarly with him, or enter his dwelling, thus removing all occasions of familiarity; for the Saints not only reject unlawful gratifications, but forbid themselves even innocent pleasures when there is the slightest indication of danger to the soul.

For this reason the good priest would never allow her to minister to him even in his extreme necessities.

At an advanced age, after he had been forty years in the sacred ministry, he fell gravely ill, and was soon almost at the point of death.

As he lay in this condition, the good woman, wishing to discover whether he still lived, bent over him and put her ear to his mouth to listen to his breathing. The dying man, perceiving her, indignantly exclaimed: “Get thee hence, woman! Get thee hence! The fire still glows in the embers. Beware of kindling it with straw!”

As she withdrew he seemed to gain new strength, and, raising his eyes, he cried out with a glad voice: “Oh! happy hour! Welcome, my lords, welcome! I thank you for deigning to visit so poor a servant. I come! I come!”

He repeated these words several times, and when they who were present asked him to whom he spoke, he said with astonishment: “Do you not see the glorious Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul?”

And, raising his eyes, he again cried: “I come! I come!” and as he uttered these words he gave up his soul to God.

An end so glorious was the result of a prudent vigilance which cannot be too highly extolled; and such confidence at the hour of death seemed a fitting reward for one who during life had been filled with a holy fear of God. [Dial. iv. 11.]

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