Saturday, April 6, 2019

The Devil Fears the Prayer Rope

In the Skete of Saint Anna, Monk Prokopios had a great desire to learn music in order to praise God with his brothers.

Since his singing was a little out-of-tune, the Holy Fathers avoided to teach him a music lesson.

Brother Prokopios had a divine gift to repeat incessantly the prayer “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner,” while always keeping the prayer rope in his left hand.

One day, he was very sad, unable to find anyone to teach him music. He felt great sorrow thinking about it, and he stopped saying the prayer.

Suddenly, a venerable, but unknown to him, elder appeared and said to him: “Brother Prokopios, why are you so sad? What is bothering you?" Prokopios replied: “Elder, I want somebody to teach me music, and there is no one to do so, because they tell me how I’m a little out-of-tune.”

The venerable elder then told him: “I will teach you the music lesson you long for, and you will be the best chanter in Mount Athos. You will be singing like a nightingale, but I want you to do me a favor.”

“What do you want in exchange?” Prokopios asked him, “Do you want me to pay you? I will give you whatever you want!”

Then the elder said to him: “My reward is for you to throw away this prayer rope and stop repeating that prayer you say. And then I will teach you whatever you want.”

When Monk Prokopios listened to these words, he understood that the elder was not a Monk, but a cunning Demon, who wanted to stop him from praying. He immediately crossed himself, and said, “Get behind me, Satan; I need neither your music lesson nor your wicked kindness,” and the Demon vanished.

This story teaches that the Devil is afraid of the prayer rope. As the Fathers put it, the prayer rope is the Christian’s weapon against the Devil and the prayer is the instrument to burn the Demon.

However, the Devil is not afraid of the chanter, since they can easily be chanted out of prayer and fall into selfishness and pride!

From the book The Gerontikon from the Garden of the Panagia.