A HERMIT had a gift from God to cast out evil spirits. One time he asked to learn what they feared most and what compelled them to flee.
“Perhaps it is fasting?” he asked one of them.
“We,” the evil spirit replied, “neither ever eat nor ever drink.”
“Sleepless vigils, then?”
“We do not sleep at all.”
“Flight from the world?”
“Supposedly an important thing. But we spend the greater part of our time wandering around the deserts.”
“I implore you to confess what it is that can subdue you,” insisted the elder.
The evil spirit, compelled by a supernatural force, was pressed to answer: “Humility—which we can never overcome.”
— The Ancient Fathers of the Desert: Section 1
V. Rev. Chrysostomos, trans.