This Mysterious Passage


But a dragon lies in ambush for the traveler;
take care he does not bite you and inject you his poison of unbelief.
Seeing this numerous company winning salvation,
he selects and stalks his prey.
In your journey to the Father of souls,
your way lies past that dragon. |
How shall you pass him?
You must have “your feet stoutly with the gospel of peace,”
so that, even if he does bite you,
he may not hurt you.
~St. Cyril of Jerusalem

St. Cyril of Jerusalem, in instructing catechumens, wrote:
“The dragon sits by the side of the road, watching those who pass.
Beware lest he devour you. We go to the Father of Souls,
but it is necessary to pass by the dragon.”
No matter what form the dragon may take,
it is of this mysterious passage past him, or into his jaws,
that stories of any depth will always be concerned to tell,
and this being the case, it requires considerable courage
at any time, in any country, not to turn away from the storyteller.

~Flannery O’Connor

Here be dragons
was any place on the ancient maps
that was unknown and unexplored,
much like the remainder of our days
are on the edge of any map we know.

So many dragons to pass,
so many mysteries remain unsolved,
so many stories of journey to be told,
and above all,
we must listen to what all have to teach us
and not stray from the worn path of the faithful.




3 thoughts on “This Mysterious Passage

  1. Mighty and timely weaving of serious warnings, to be heeded if we are to reach the finish line with our souls and our integrity intact. We all need to recognize that pernicious evil is not confined to one location, one continent. It is universal. Its name is Legion ( ‘dragon’ to Cyril). It comes to us often hidden or disguised. No one is exempt from its effects.

    Interesting that the geographical locations of many places on the ancient maps are still sources of discontent and violence. Names have changed – particularly in the area known today collectively as the “Middle East.’ where demarcation lines change frequently and internecine warfare with its mindless slaughter continues unabated.

    Interesting that Cyril (315-386 A.D.) echoes Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians (6:10-17 Battle Against Evil) v.15,, ‘…feet shod in readiness for the gospel of grace.’
    And O’Connor (1925-1964) in her use of the word ‘courage’ ties in with Paul’s v.10, ‘…draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power.’

    Thank you, Emily, for bringing this all together for us, for making the reality of the evil that surrounds us relevant to our time in history, to our individual Journeys.


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