Working up courage, I entered the
cave and proceeded toward the voice. The
ascetic was curled up on the ground. He had
raised his head, and I was able in the half-light to make out his face as it
gleamed in the depths of unutterable beatitude …
I did not know what to say, where
to begin … Finally I gathered up
“Do you wrestle with the devil,
Father Makarios?” I asked him.
“Not any longer, my child. I have grown old now, and he has grown old
with me. He doesn’t have the strength … I wrestle with God.”
“With God! “ I exclaimed in astonishment.
“And you hope to win?”
“I hope to lose, my child. My bones remain with me still, and they
continue to resist.”
“Yours is a hard life, Father. I too want to be saved. Is there no other way?”
“More agreeable?” asked the
ascetic, smiling compassionately.
“More human, Father.”
“One, only one”
“What is it?”
“Ascent. To climb a series of steps. From the full
stomach to hunger, from the slaked throat to thirst, from joy to suffering. God sits at the summit of hunger, thirst, and
suffering; the devil sits at the throne of the comfortable life. Choose.”
“I am still young. The world is nice. I have time to choose.”
Reaching out with the five bones of
his hand, the ascetic touched my knee and pushed me.
“Wake up, my child. Wake up before death wakes you up.” Report to Greco – Nikos Kazantzakis