How St Vassian Delivered the Merchant from Spiritual Deception

How to Avoid or Get Rid of Spiritual Delusion

From the Vita of St Vassian the Blind (Balashevitch) (1745 - 1827)

One day a merchant who was not only a businessman but also took some part in ascetic exercises went to the Kiev Monastery of the Caves. The merchant was especially proud of his fetters of about sixteen kilograms, which he was wearing permanently, and used any occasion to boast of it. At his arrival to the monastery, the merchant went to the Elder Babylas [the previous name of the elder, in the lesser schema tonsure] who began to gain authority, in order to get some encouragement and take more exercise in his ascetical practice. The Elder met the merchant and smiled, asking:  ‘Is the yoke of Christ easy for you?’ ‘Oh yes, answered the merchant, I would like even more of it!’ ‘Lucky you,’ said Fr Babylas, ‘for I’m an old man and can hardly carry the yoke of Christ. Go in peace.’ Then he blessed the merchant and went to his cell. In a minute time, the merchant started running about the Lavra screaming that his fetters are as hot as fire. After a long while, a blacksmith found managed to take off the fetters. So Father Babylas delivered the pseudo-ascetic from demonic deception of exaltation and pride.

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