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November 18, 2010

To Turn the Cheek Is To Smite the Devil

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

"But whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also" (Matthew 5:39), commanded the Lord. This is the shortest and clearest teaching on humility. The evil demons fear nothing so much as a humble man fulfilling the Lord's commandments.

There was a rich nobleman in Alexandria who had a young daughter into whom an evil spirit had entered, and the daughter had gone insane. Someone told the despairing father that none could heal his daughter except the monks who lived in the wilderness and came to Alexandria from time to time to sell baskets, their handiwork; but none of the monks would enter the rich nobleman's house if he told them why he was inviting them. It would be better for him to purchase baskets from the monks, then ask them to come to his house for payment. Then, when they entered the house, he could implore them to pray to God for all the members of the household, and thus obtain God's help to cure the maiden.

The father obeyed and went to the marketplace on a certain day and met one of St. Makarios's disciples as he was selling baskets. The man agreed to buy the baskets, and invited the monk to his home to pay him. When the monk entered the home, the possessed daughter leaped at the monk and vigorously struck him on one cheek with her hand. The monk silently turned the other cheek. The evil spirit cried out in anguish and departed from the girl, and she became completely calm and rational. When the monk returned to the wilderness, he told the elders what had happened and they all glorified God, that He had given so much power to those who fulfill His commandments.