Today I won’t actually post something I wrote, but a story I snipped out of an ancient book.
This story is from a book called the “Shepherd of Hermas. It is a very old Christian book from the first or second century that people highly regarded. Some early Christians even included it in the scriptures, and bound it with the New Testament between the Book of Acts and the Pauline Epistles.
The work comprises five visions, twelve mandates, and ten parables. The main theme of the book is calling the faithful to repent of the sins that have harmed the Church.
Please read the story below and comment on it. I’m sure you’ll get something out of it!
The master, who reared me, had sold me to one Rhoda in Rome. After many years, I met her again, and began to love her as a sister.
After a certain time I saw her bathing in the river Tiber; and I gave her my hand, and led her out of the river. So, seeing her beauty, I reasoned in my heart, saying, “Happy were I, if I had such a wife both in beauty and in character.” I merely reflected on this and nothing more.
After a certain time, as I was journeying to Cumae, and glorifying God’s creatures for their greatness and splendor and power, as I walked I fell asleep. And a Spirit took me, and bore me away through a pathless tract, through which no man could pass: for the place was precipitous, and broken into clefts by reason of the waters. When then I had crossed the river, I came into the level country, and knelt down, and began to pray to the Lord and to confess my sins.
Now, while I prayed, the heaven was opened, and I saw the lady, whom I had desired, greeting me from heaven, saying, “Good morning, Hermas.” And, looking at her, I said to her, “Lady, what are you doing here?” Then she answered me, “I was taken up, that I might convict you of your sins before the Lord.” I said to her, “Will you convict me now?” “No, not so,” said she, “but hear the words, that I shall say to you. God, Who dwells in the heavens, and created out of nothing the things which are, and increased and multiplied them for His holy Church’s sake, is angry with you, for that you sinned against me.” I answered her and said, “Sin against you? In what way? Did I ever speak an unseemly word about you? Did I not always regard you as a goddess? Did I not always respect you as a sister? How could you falsely charge me, lady, with such villainy and uncleanness? “Laughing she said to me, “The desire after evil entered into your heart. No? You do not think that it is an evil deed for a righteous man, if the evil desire should enter into his heart? It is indeed a sin and a great one too,” she said; “for the righteous man entertains righteous purposes. While then his purposes are righteous, his reputation stands steadfast in the heavens, and he finds the Lord easily propitiated in all that he does. But they that entertain evil purposes in their hearts bring upon themselves captivity of death, especially they that claim for themselves this present work and boast in its riches, and cleave not to the good things that are to come. Their souls shall regret it, seeing that they have no hope, but have abandoned themselves and their life. But you pray unto God and He shall heal your own sins, and those of your whole house, and of all the saints.”