From the life of St. Niphon of Athos, who lived in the XIV century
Another monk living in a separate cell relied on himself and on his own knowledge, and therefore decided not to disclose his thoughts to a more experienced spiritual father. So he lived in the way as his thought prompted him. As a result, the unfortunate monk fell into delusion and mistook an angel of darkness for an Angel of light. The monk was taught by him to do many improper deeds, fell into pride and thought that he excels all people with his virtues. Once he came to St. Niphon. When asked why he came, he answered:
“To look at you, the one who is famous for his virtue.”
The saint remarked on this:
“How is it that you, so great and magnificent, have condescended to coming to me, insignificant and wretched?
“God gave me benefaction, and the gift that I have is from God.”
“Brother, the gift of God is the humility of mind. The thought from God is to think of yourself that you are the last of all; the thought from God is to achieve great virtues and think that you are the worst of all. And what you imagined about yourself is the delusion from Satan being the one who taught you everything.”
After such words of the saint, the monk seemed to come to his senses and said:
- Father, if my pride comes from the evil one, then, I ask you, drive it away with your prayer and save me from arrogance.
Raising the eyes of his soul to heaven, blessed Niphon said:
- Lord Jesus Christ, who sought and found a lost sheep and counted it as being among other non-lost sheep, who banished the mental wolf who intended to kill it, and showed us the way of salvation. Thou, Lord, deliver from the arrogance of demons this servant of yours, who has fallen into delusion through his simplicity and the treachery of the deceitful devil, let him know Thou, the true God, who suffered the cross and death for the sake of us, so he may glorify Thy holy name forever and ever. Amen.
So the saint prayed, and immediately a veil fell from the brother’s eyes, and he clearly saw what evil he, miserable, fell into. Since then, having gotten rid of satanic arrogance, he began to lead a pious life with prudence and humility.