Okay I know I retired Br. (ahem Abba) Monday. Last we saw, he was hanging out on a mountain somewhere eating pizza and scrounging up beer money whenever he could. But there are no rules on Leap Day so I figured we’d better spend it day drinking with the good abba.
On Abba Monday’s calendar today is John Cassian’s special day. I had always thought this was some sort of slight. What do we do with Cassian? I know, let’s put him on Leap Day. But turns out that he’s celebrated on the 28th all those other years. So there goes my grand theory that Cassian is Leap Day William.
Anyways, here’s my favorite story from Cassian. You’ve heard it before here, but you know how these old Abbas are, always repeating the same stories.
I remember an elder, when I was staying in the desert of Scete, who went to the cell of a certain brother to pay him a visit, and when he had reached the door heard him muttering inside, and stood still for a little while, wanting to know what it was that he was reading from the Bible or repeating by heart (as is customary) while he was at work. And when this most excellent eavesdropper diligently applied his ear and listened with some curiosity, he found that the man was induced by an attack of this spirit to fancy that he was delivering a stirring sermon to the people. And when the elder, as he stood still, heard him finish his discourse and return again to his office, and give out the dismissal of the catechumens, as the deacon does, then at last he knocked at the door, and the man came out, and met the elder with the customary reverence, and brought him in and (for his knowledge of what had been his thoughts made him uneasy) asked him when he had arrived, for fear lest he might have taken some harm from standing too long at the door: and the old man joking pleasantly replied,I only got here while you were giving out the dismissal of the catechumens.