Lust, Humility, and Severed Fingers

03 26 2018

Those Catholic Men | 3/29/2018 | Staff
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In Father Sergius, a short story by Leo Tolstoy, a wealthy Russian nobleman enters a monastery under questionable motives, but ended up genuinely striving for holiness and virtue, and even finding that the battle for sanctity was worth it! Despite his progress, he constantly felt weak in his faith, and unceasingly begged God to grant more. He was humble.

After seven years living as a hermit, an attractive woman visited who was bent on seducing him (he was well known as a very handsome hermit). What she didn’t know was that just before she arrived he had been nearly overcome with thoughts of lust, so she had come at just the “right” time.

Door - Winter - Night - Friends - Room

She banged and begged at his door as if stranded and alone, tricking him into letting her in on a cold Russian winter night (her friends had actually dropped her off), and after he locked himself in his room to avoid her, she told him to stay in his room because she was undressing – a fact she knew would make him imagine her.

He could hear her silken garments moving and, having exposed herself, she began moaning requests to him. She pleaded that she had been stricken very ill, perhaps by the cold, and desperately needed his immediate attention. From his room he whispered prayers knowing that his faith was too weak for such a trial. He knew what she wanted. He wanted her. He then burst out of his room, sped past her straight to his porch where an ax lay for splitting wood, and laid down his finger and cut it off in an extreme act of mortification (to be understood, but not emulated). He had resisted sin to the point of shedding blood! Witnessing this, she collapsed into tears begging for forgiveness. He told her God...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Those Catholic Men
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