What Grace Looks Like

Abba Ammonas came one day to eat in a place where there was a monk of evil repute. Now it happened that a woman came and entered he cell of the brother of evil reputation. The dwellers in that place, having learnt this, were troubled and gathered together to chase the brother from his cell. Knowing that Bishop Ammonas was in the place, they asked him to join them. When the brother in question learnt this, he hid the woman in a large cask. The crowd of monks came to the place. Now Abba Ammonas saw the position clearly but for the sake of God he kept the secret; he entered, seated himself on the cask and commanded the cell to be searched. Then when the monks had searched everywhere without finding the woman, Abba Ammonas said, ‘What is this? May God forgive you!’ After praying, he made everyone go out, then taking the brother by the hand he said, ‘Brother, be on your guard.’ With these words, he withdrew.

(The Desert Christian: Sayings of the Desert Fathers: The Alphabetical Collection. Translated and with forward by Benedicta Ward, S.L.G. New York:Macmillan Publishing Co. First American Edition 1980)

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