On Judas

Another apocryphal tale of interest, this time passed on by Calvin Miller in his tremendous book, Celtic Prayer:

On the island Brendan [the first Celtic sailor] meets Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus!  Judas explains that, by the mercy of Jesus, he is on the island for a brief respite from his never-ending suffering in hell:

“I am Judas, most wretched, and the greatest traitor.  I am here not on account of my own merits but because of the mysterious mercy of Jesus Christ.  For me this is not a place of torment but rather a place of respite granted me by the Savior in honor of his Resurrection.”  It was the Lord’s own day.  “It seems to me when I sit here that I am in the Garden of Delights in comparison with the agonies which I know I shall suffer this evening.  For I burn like molten lead in a crucible day and night at the heart of the mountain which you see, where Leviathan lives with his companions.  I have a respite here every Sunday from first to second vespers, from Christmas until Epiphany, from Easter until Pentecost, and on the Feast of the Purification and the Assumption of the Mother of God.  The rest of the year I am tortured in the depths of hell with Herod and Pilate, Annas and Caiaphas.  Therefore I beseech you by the Savior of the world to be kind enough to intercede for me with the Lord Jesus Christ that I may be allowed to remain here until sunset tomorrow and that the devils may not torment me, seeing your arrival here, and drag me off to the hideous destiny which I purchased with so terrible a price.”  St. Brendan replied:  “The Lord’s will be done.  You shall not be consumed by devils tonight until dawn.”

Calvin Miller, The Path of Celtic Prayer: An Ancient Way to Everyday Joy (Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP Books, 2007), p.76.

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