There is a story that comes out of the desert fathers, those 3rd and 4th century monks who sought the depths of spiritual life in the North African desert. Athanasia was an old monk who had a very rare and precious copy of the Gospels — this at a time when very few had access to any part of the Bible, much less most of it. It had beautiful artwork and a jewel studded cover. It was priceless in value. Now hospitality was a very important concept in the Middle East; people would drop everything they were doing, no matter how crucial, to welcome a guest. Once a young man came by Athanasia’s home, and Athanasia took him in for the night. At supper he read from the beautiful copy of the Gospels. That night the young man got up, stole the copy of the Gospels, and went on to the next town to sell it. He found a trader who was…
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