By Nicholas Voinescu
There was a certain crazy monk in a monastery. Not that he was really crazy, but others considered him crazy in whatever he said or did. One night the abbot of the monastery called for him and asked him how his day went and what he did in its duration. And the monk replied:
"I had many jobs, holy abbot, like the other days, and if Almighty God didn't help me, my little strength would not be enough to cope with all these jobs."
"But what did you do, what issues preoccupied you?" asked the puzzled elder abbot to his monk.
"First of all," continued the monk, "I had to watch over two falcons, then hold two deer and exercise two hunting dogs. And besides this I had to defeat a snake and tame a bear. And as if all this wasn't enough, I had to take care of a sick man."
"What are you talking about?" asked the bewildered abbot. "We don't have such jobs at this monastery. Now I know why some people call you crazy."
"That's fine, holy abbot, let them consider me crazy," replied the monk humbly. "But these jobs daily take place in our monastery, and with your blessing I do them all."
"Blessed one, you're gonna drive me crazy," said the bewildered abbot, who couldn't understand what the monk was saying. "What jobs are these and who told you to do them?"
"God told me to do them, holy abbot, and I'm being obedient to His command. As for the jobs you are asking about, the two hawks, my Father, are the eyes, and we must keep watch over them constantly to not see things that will hurt them. The two deer I'm holding are my two feet to not lead me to do some evil. The two hunting dogs are my hands which I exercise only to do good. While the snake I am defeating is my tongue, and I must defeat this snake, to not speak unnecessarily and not pour out poison against others. Lastly, the bear to tame is my heart, so that it won't have pride and vainglory within. As for the sick man I am taking care of, it is my body, which I take care of so as not to fall into the illness of great sensuality. Do you understand now, holy abbot, what I did?"
"You, my child, are not crazy, as they say, but truly wise, the wisest of us all. God always be with you and help you in your good work. Come so I can kiss you with a holy kiss."
Then he bent down and kissed him, and gave him a crosswise blessing.
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.