Blessed Nilus was a native of Antioch. While his noble
descent and personal excellence elevated him to the position of the capitalís
Prefect, the aspirations of his spirit were not in accord with the
responsibilities of the office and the ways of the city life. Consequently, in
agreement with his wife (by whom he already had 2 children), he left the world
so as to lead a solitary existence and focus on walking the path toward
salvation. In the year 390, taking along his son Theodulus, he settled in Sinai
while his wife and her daughter found a retreat in one of the Egyptian
Blessed Nilus led an extremely stringent life: he
and his son dug a cave to live in with their own bare hands, and existed not on
bread but wild bitter vegetation. All their time was spent in prayer, studying
the Scripture, contemplation of God and laboring.
On one occasion barbarians attacked Sinai and took
Theodulus prisoner. Luckily, this ordeal did not last very long as Theodulus,
together with the other prisoners, were sold in a town called Eluz where many
Christians lived. The Bishop of this town paid for his release and Theodulus
returned to his beloved Sinai desert.
Blessed Nilus lived around 60 years in the desert
before reposing in the year 450.
Among his many works are: "On Prayer,"
"Thoughts That Lead Away From the Corruptible," "On the Eight
Spirits of Evil." The latter work reveals sequentially the eight basic
passions that afflict the spirit of each and every one of us: gluttony, carnal
lust, love of money, anger, sorrow, despondency, vanity and pride. Knowing the
features of these passions makes it easier to recognize them within oneself
and, consequently, begin to oppose them.
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