The Temptation of the Two Brothers

April 30, 2015

Two noble knights* were one day passing together through a thick forest on their way to a tournament. They were brothers, and each of them possessed great riches.

As they were passing through this solitary place, the demon of covetousness inspired both of them with the same wicked thought: that of killing his brother, in order to obtain his share of wealth.

St. Robert of Molesme, Abbot of Molesme Abbey. Photo by GFreihalter.

St. Robert of Molesme, Abbot of Molesme Abbey. Photo by GFreihalter.

But, as they were Catholics, and feared to offend God, they both resisted the temptation; but still their consciences were not at rest. So when they reached the nearest village, the one said to the other: “I am going to look for a priest, for I want to go to Confession.”

The other one answered: “I also have the same desire in my mind.” So they both went to the church and made their Confession.

After both had finished, and were about to continue their journey, one of them said to the other: “My dear brother, I must tell you of a terrible temptation that came into my mind as we were passing through the forest. Satan tempted me to take away your life, that I might obtain possession of your wealth.”

The other brother started back in surprise. “My dearest brother,” he said, “the same thought also came into my mind, and I was tempted to kill you, that I might become possessed of your property; but I, like yourself, banished the temptation.”

17th-century depiction of the Molesme Abbey in France.  Molesme Abbey, which existed up to the French Revolution, was founded in 1075 by St. Robert of Molesme.

17th-century depiction of the Molesme Abbey in France. Molesme Abbey was founded in 1075 by St. Robert of Molesme. Most of the buildings, including the abbey church, were destroyed during the French Revolution, but in the 19th century a new belltower was constructed. The building was damaged in 1940 during fighting between French and German troops in World War II, and traces of this damage are still visible.

This revelation filled them both with such a horror for wealth, which so nearly was the cause of crime, that on the spot they both resolved to renounce for ever the riches of this world, so dangerous in time and for eternity, and went to live together in a hut which they built for themselves in the forest.

Thus was begun the famous monastery in the forest of Molesme, in the middle of the eleventh century.

*St. Robert of Molesme and his brother

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Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 472

The Catechism In Examples Vol. III By the Rev. D. Chisholm Pg.341-342.

 

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