Tuesday, August 16, 2011

On the devil's hatred for sacred images

Abbot Theodore Aeliotes told of a holy hermit on the Mount of Olives, who was much troubled by the demon of fornication. One day when he was sorely tempted, the old man began to complain bitterly. "When will you let me alone?" he said to the devil "be gone from me! you and I have grown old together." The devil appeared to him, saying, "Swear to me that you will keep what I am about to tell you to yourself, and I will not trouble you any longer." And the old man swore it. Then the devil said to him, "Do not worship this image, and I will not harass you." The image in question represented Our Lady, the holy Mother of God, bearing in her arms our Lord Jesus Christ. You see what those who forbid the worship of images hate in reality, and whose instruments they are. The demon of fornication strove to prevent the worship of Our Lady's image rather than to tempt the old man to impurity. He knew that the former evil was greater than fornication.

St. John Damascene, Apologia against those who decry holy images.

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