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Abbot Serapion was visited by a monk who, at every word, called himself a sinner and unworthy of the religious habit he wore…
The holy abbot wanted to wash his feet, as was his custom with monks who did not belong to his community. The monk would not allow him to do so, protesting that he deserved to be trampled underfoot by everyone.
So, having seated him at table, Abbot Serapion offered him some food. Now, while the monk was eating, the abbot began to speak to him some words full of gentleness and inspired by sincere charity: “My son, he said to him, if you want to advance in religious perfection, stay quietly in your cell, watch over yourself and do your manual work. All these trips you make from one monastery to another, so many journeys in the desert, cannot contribute to your spiritual progress. God is no more easily found in any place than in your cell.”
The monk, on hearing these words, was so disturbed in his heart, that he could not help showing his agitation. Abbot Serapion noticed this: “Brother, he said to him, what do I see? Just now you declared yourself a great sinner, unworthy of this earth which bears you and of the air you breathe, and at this moment, on the occasion of a charitable reprimand I am giving you about your imperfections, you seem to me to be all troubled? You are mistaken, my good brother. If you wish to practice humility, you must not denounce your own defects. You must wait for others to reproach you for them; and when that happens, your duty is to receive these reproaches calmly, and even to rejoice in your heart.”
The monk, at this second rebuke, opened his eyes and distinguished from false humility that which has all its characters and to which is reserved the victory over all vanity. So he began to ask the abbot for forgiveness and returned to live in the solitude of his cell.
Sign of the Cross
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and of the Mother of God. Amen.
O Jesus! We are going to walk with You on the road to Calvary which was so painful for You. Make us understand the greatness of Your sufferings, touch our hearts with tender compassion at the sight of Your torments, in order to increase in us the regret of our faults and the love we wish to have for You.
Deign to apply to all of us the infinite merits of Your Passion, and in memory of Your sorrows, show mercy to the souls in Purgatory, especially to those who are most abandoned.
O Divine Mary, who first taught us to make the Way of the Cross, obtain for us the grace to follow Jesus with the sentiments Your Heart was filled with as You accompanied Him on the road to Calvary. Grant that we may weep with You, and that we may love Your divine Son as You do. We ask this in the name of His adorable Heart. Amen.
My Jesus, forgiveness and mercy!
By the merits of Thy holy Wounds and the sorrows of Thy Mother.