January 31

From the Prologue

As a monk Nicetas was disobedient to his superior, left the monastery and closed himself in a cell. Because of his disobedience, God permitted great temptations to befall him. Once, when Nicetas was at prayer, the devil appeared to him under the guise of a radiant angel and said to him: "Do not pray anymore; rather read books and I will pray for you!" Nicetas obeyed and ceased to pray and began to read books. He only read the Old Testament. He was unable even to open the Book of the New Testament, for the power of the devil prevented him from doing so. With the help of the devil, Nicetas prophesied only crimes, thefts, arson and other evil deeds which are known to the devil and in which he [the devil] participates. Finally, the holy fathers of the Caves realized that Nicetas had succumbed to the temptation of the devil, and they began to pray to God for him. Nicetas returned to the monastery, realized the destruction which plagued him, and directed himself on the right path. After prolonged repentance and many tears, God forgave him and bestowed upon him the gift of miracle-working. He died in the year 1108 A.D.



Nicetas, to the Creator, prayed,

That the Creator make him worthy,

That he, the Creator, may be able to see.

"Appear to me, O God, O God!"

O Nicetas, sin is pursuing you,

That this, from God, you implore!

Make yourself worthy and you will see

The All-eternal One in eternity.

The Immortal God does not allow

That mortal eye upon Him gaze;

Even to the celestial world, it is frightful

To gaze at the Almighty.

To us is given this life,

That, by it, to prepare ourselves,

That worthy, only after death

To gaze upon the eternal light.

But, Nicetas asks and prays,

That the Creator make him worthy,

That he, the Creator, may be able to see:

"Appear to me, O God Most High."

Then, to him the devil appeared:

"Bow down before me!" said he,

And Nicetas, the faster, the better,

Before him, on his knees he knelt!

For he thought it was an angel:

It was the devil all in glow,

With the glow of falsehood,

Filled Niceta's entire cell.

O, my brother, God, do not tempt;

This age is the age of preparation;

In this age is faith;

In that age however, is vision;

First the battle, then the victory;

First the pain, then satisfaction;

All occurs in its own time.

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St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas