...With the Sign of the Cross, the old monk Abba
Joseph trapped in his cell a dark and miserable demon
who had come to tempt him. "Release me, Father, and let
me go," pleaded the demon, "I will not come to tempt you
again". "I will gladly do that, but on one condition,"
replied the monk. "You must sing for me the song that
you sang before God's Throne on high, before your fall."
The demon responded, "You know I cannot do that; it will
cause me cruel torture and suffering. And besides, Father,
no human ear can hear its ineffable sweetness and live,
for you will surely die." "Then you will have to remain
here in my cell," said the monk, "and bear with me the
full struggle of repentance." "Let me go, do not force me
to suffer," pleaded the demon." "Ah, but then you must
sing to me the song you sang on high before your fall with Satan."
So the dark and miserable demon, seeing that there was
no way out, began to sing, haltingly, barely audible
at first, groping for words long forgotten. As he sang,
the darkness which penetrated and surrounded him began
slowly to dissipate. The song grew ever louder and
increasingly stronger, and soon the demon was caught
up in its sweetness, his voice fully lifted up in worship
and praise. Boldly he sang of the power and the honour
and the glory of the Triune God on High, Creator of the
Universe, Master of Heaven and Earth, of all things visible
and invisible. As the song sung on high before all ages
resounded in the fullness of its might, a wondrous and
glorious light penetrated the venerable Abba's humble cell,
and the walls which had enclosed it were no more. Ineffable
love and joy surged into the very depths of the being
of the radiant and glorious angel, as he ever so gently
stooped down and covered with his wings the lifeless body
of the old hermit who had liberated him from the abyss of hell.