Satan, one afternoon, was wandering in the Libyan desert when he came across a group of junior devils trying to tempt a monk. The monk was very holy: Satan watched as the little demons offered him worldly riches, power, wisdom, anything he wanted if only he would renounce his God. The demons were getting nowhere, the monk was firm in his faith and rooted in his virtue and steadfast holiness.
Lucifer could bear watching no more and approached. ‘What exactly is going on here?’ he asked.
‘Master,’ the imps replied, ‘This man is entirely good. He will not be provoked in to renouncing God. We have offered him every worldly pleasure and power.’
‘Out of the way,’ said Lucifer. ‘Let me show you how it’s done.’ Lucifer stepped forward and whispered something into the monk’s ear. Immediately the monk roared with anger, tore his holy robes asunder and filled the air with the most profane and obscene oaths against God. It was an awesome sight. The demons immediately fell to their knees and cried to Satan.
‘Verily, you are the Master. For forty days and forty nights have been tempting him to no avail, and yet, even in a twinkling, you turn him from God to us. What, in hell’s holy name what did you say to him, oh Lord of Darkness?’
‘It’s really very simple,’ said Lucifer, ‘I just told him his brother had recently been made Bishop of Alexandria.’