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March 21 | Reality Checks

Saint Serapion of Thmuis

A.D. 300–360



Other people keep us anchored in reality. They provide the mirrors necessary to see and know ourselves. Isolated and alone, we can convince ourselves of all sorts of crazy things, but other people keep it real for us by drawing us out of our own imaginary worlds. They don't allow us to deceive ourselves. Relationships keep us honest. Other people help to move us out of our illusions and into reality.

Saint Serapion of Thmuis was able to bring a reality check to a young woman who couldn’t quite register the consequences of her actions.

There was a young prostitute named Thaïs whose beauty had lured many young men into giving away all they had in order to buy her favor. The young men often fought with each other over time with her, and even killed each other.

Saint Serapion heard of the discord surrounding Thaïs and went to see if he could help resolve the situation.

The monk paid her a visit and handed her a valuable silver piece. She accepted it and said, “Let us go inside.” Serapion asked her, “Is there anywhere more private we can go?” And Thaïs answered him, “There is, but no one ever enters this room but God.”

The old monk was surprised by her statement. “So you know there is a God?” he asked.

“Yes,” Thaïs answered.

“And you’re not afraid of losing your soul?” Serapion pressed on. “Or of leading others to lose their souls?”

And that was enough to bring Thaïs back to reality. Perhaps she had sensed all along the error of her ways, but now she burst into tears as the truth about her lifestyle hit her all at once. She committed herself to three years of solitude, became a nun, and is now known as Saint Thaïs. All she needed was a little reality check from another person to transform her whole life.

We could all use a reality check from time to time. Seek out those people who are willing to give it to you straight, and when they do, don’t run away. Listen with an open heart, and see if there is truth in their words.

WHAT AREA OF MY LIFE COULD I USE A REALITY CHECK IN?

I will allow others to help me see reality more clearly.


This reflection is brought to you from book title.


Also Known As: Saint Serapion the Scholastic

Feast Day: March 21

Feast Day Shared By: Saint Benedetta Cambiagio Frassinello

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