Father Motylion. The Secret Life of a Monk.


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Have no confidence in your own virtuousness. Do not worry about a thing once it has been done. Control your tongue and your belly. This is what fathers of the desert of the 5th century adviced their novices. Father Motylion lives in the 21st century and although controlling the tongue and the belly still applies, he needs to control his novices when it comes to using their tongue on Facebook and control their appetites for cigarettes. This is a story of love and fear, tears of joy and sadness. It is a spiritual journey to the core of pure heart of a 21st century monk.





Father Motylion wasn’t a regular monk. He was irregular in many ways. His hermitage was a combination of a country house and a loft, with old wooden furniture and a WiFi, an induction cooker and stylish italian coffee maker. In one old cupboard one would find a dozen of boxes of the best quality Lavazza. On a small, used desk lied a shiny kindle with thousands of spiritual e-books. The narrow bed that hardly fit into a tiny space between the wardrobe and a sink was covered with an old blanket. Next to it, standing in a circle, convincingly imitating plastic mini stone hedge, were half-empty bottles with still water. In the center, placed as if in a modern art installation, were barely usable, camel leather sandals.

Window faced East. And so did father Motylion. Contemplating the movement of a fly he sipped his morning coffee. A habit that, over those thirty years spent in obedience to the Pope and the Catholic Church, has grown into an almost liturgical ritual. A ceremony which importance was almost as high as the importance of the liturgy of the hours.

Every morning, just before six o’clock, father Motylion placed his beloved coffee maker on the induction cooker. The coffee maker was ready to its daily routine an evening before, with water and an impressive amount of coffee packed into a small filter. And so, in no time, a perfect combination of a seriously high level of caffeine and marvelous aroma filled the room. Without this ceremony morning prayers were hardly possible. Father Motylion simply had to have his morning coffee. Full stop.

However,  we should not accuse father Motylion of heresy. His devotion to the divine office and the Church was definitely stronger than the devotion to coffee. The coffee simply intensified the devotion to the Church.

The life in the hermitage was rather simple and uneventful. Daily tasks included prayers five times a day, Holy Mass, lectio divina, eating three times a day, receiving visitors seeking advice and other, simple and invariably boring things such as washing up, ironing a habit ( once a month or so) etc.

Now, the definition of uneventful in a spiritual life of a hermit is somewhat different to what we may suspect. Uneventful, that is to say, repeatedly the same, were the battles fought with ones vices, thoughts, illusions. These battles were too many to mention and happened on a daily basis, therefore it is fair to say that they constituted a normal state of things. The definition of an event is, for now, an empty box. But, yes, there are going to be events which will fill the empty box with numerous meanings.

The first event happened at 6.25 a.m.

Father Motylion was praying in the chapel, as usual. For more than two months now a young man joined him for the morning prayer. The routine was established. Father Motylion would open the chapel door and let the visitor in then he would start reading the desert fathers and successfully ignore the presence of a visitor.

That day, at 6.25 things have changed for good. And so we should, by all means, call what will be described, an event.

It was all about being earnest. The young visitor waited fifteen minutes before he decided to change his life. After fifteen minutes of a silent prayer the young man stood up and slowly approached father Motylion.

-Father? Father Motylion?


-I…I…well…I would like to become your disciple.

-Oh, that. Yes. Very well. Let’s drink coffee together. Tomorrow. Six in the morning.

-Thank you so much!

-Don’t be late.

-Not a chance.

-Your name?


-Well, see you tomorrow, Papillon.

Papillon took off. He never suspected that things will actually happen the way he wanted to. And now…now father Motylion not only agreed to be his master but also invited him for coffee!

Father Motylion would never have thought that his decision will turn all things upside down. For now, abba Motylion was absolutely sure that he has things under control and that one more disciple cannot possibly change his well structured life. Abba knew his weak point, had ways to cope with them and could not imagine anything that could jeopardize his well earned peace. Alas! The storm was yet to come…