ADVENT FIRE: December 13

ADVENT FIRE: December 13

From Becoming Fire: Through the Year with the Desert Fathers and Mothers 

Lord, You See My Weariness

It was said about Abba Macarius that one time as he was going up from Scetis to Egypt he was carrying some baskets.  When he grew weary, he sat down.  He raised his eyes up to Heaven and said, “Lord, it is you who see my weariness,” and after he said this, he found himself at the Nile with the baskets.

Antony Tames the Beasts in the Desert

Later, when the brothers learned about the place, like children thinking of their father, they took care to send him what he needed.  But Antony saw that some of them, out of their concern to bring him bread, were putting themselves to great trouble and were wearing themselves out.  Wishing to spare the monks this burden, he reflected on this and asked some of those who came to see him to bring him a hoe and an ax and a little grain.  Once supplied with these, he surveyed the land around the mountain.  Finding a very small piece suitable for tilling, he farmed it, and having a sufficient supply of fresh water, he sowed the ground.  by doing this, each year he had bread from there, rejoicing that he would not be bothering anyone about bread, and he made sure that he would not be a burden in anything.

Later, however, when he once again saw people coming to see him, he also planted a few vegetables so that those coming to visit might have a little relief from the hardships of that rugged journey.  At first, however, the wild beasts in the desert would come along on account of the water and would often harm what he had planted and tilled.  But Antony, with grace and dexterity, captured one of the beasts and said to all of them, “Why do you harm me when I do you no harm?  Go away, and in the name of the Lord do not come near here anymore!”  From that day on, as though they were afraid because of what he had commanded, the beasts no longer came near the place.

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