Demons within us

“He went mad,” the monk continued, “from the rigid fasting, from being too saintly, from having too many conversations with God. He could endure it no longer; the trap door opened, and all the hidden demons escaped from within him. He no longer carved Virgins and Christs on wood; he would get up at night, light his lamp, and carve demons and naked women and pigs.”

“No, no!” Father Yánaros cried, rising from his stool. “Father Arsénios had no demons within him, only angels dwelled there! Do not taint his memory!”

“Demons and naked women and pigs”, the young man repeated. “All of us, Father Yánaros, all of us harbor demons and naked women and pigs within us.”

Father Yánaros did not speak; he looked within himself. Walking over to the carving of the Second Coming, he stopped, made the sign of the cross, and bowed to worship. He watched it thoughtfully for a while; for a moment he had forgotten the wounded monk and the secret he supposedly brought; his heart filled with Father Arsénios. “Demons, women, and pigs …” he murmured. “Alas, I think this young man is right.”

He remembered the day he had asked Father Arsénios what dwelled within a sinner’s heart. And he had lowered his eyes and replied in a chocked voice, “Why do you ask me, Father Yánaros? Why do you ask me about the heart of a sinner? I have the heart of a virtuous man, and still all the demons dwell within it.”

How many years did these demons remain hidden within him – chained by the fear of God? … But the trap door opened; his mind wandered; and the imprisoned demons revealed themselves.

From: The Fratricides by Nikos Kazantzakis

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s