St. Pachomius on the Demons and the Soul After Death

St. Pachomius the Great ca. 292-346

As for you, my son, shun the satisfactions of this age, so as to be happy in the age the come. Do not be negligent, letting the days pass by till unexpectedly they come looking for you and you arrive at the straits of your anguish and the ‘horror-faces’* surround you and drag you off violently to their dark place of terror and anguish. Do not be sad when you are cursed by men; be sad and sigh when you sin — this is the true curse — and when you go away bearing the sores of your sins.

…if the devil for his part whispers…do not give in to his clever talk. [If you should,] the Spirit of God would leave you, and you would become weak without strength, like Samson, and strangers would put you in chains and lead you off to the mill, that is, to the grinding of teeth (Mt. 8:12). You would be for them the object of mockery, that is, they would laugh at you; you would not know the way to your city because they would have gouged out your eyes, for you have opened your heart to Delilah, that is, the devil, who has taken you by wile, because you have neglected the counsels of the Spirit.

If you have hit your brother, you will be handed over to pitiless angels and you will be chastised in torments of fire for all eternity. (Pachomian Koinonia III: Instructions, Letters, and Other Writings of Saint Pachomius and His Disciples. The Instructions of Saint Pachomius, 23, 26, 41)

* These ‘horror-faces’ are the servants of Abbaddon, the angel of death (Rev. 9:11); they have the mission of making the soul of the dying man come out by frightening him with their terrifying aspect. (see L. T. Lefort, Oeuvres, [CSCO-160], p. 7).

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