December 25

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


An old man said, “Just as grass does not grow at all on a well-traveled road, even if you sow seed on the road, because the ground is trampled down, so it is with us: Live quietly, apart from things, and you will see plants growing that you had no knowledge of because they were within you and you were trampling them down.”

Christ the Compassionate Potter

Abba Macarius said: The potter who sits working the earth first takes care to fashion vessels decorated with colorful motifs that become honored at the morning and evening meals of emperors and are even honored by the priestly order of the church.  After making these, he fashions other vessels that are ugly and inferior (Romans 9:21; 2 Timothy 2:20) for use as chamber pots and for birthing stools for the newborn and innocent. After making these, he loads the furnace and fires them.  Truly I say that just as he prays for the precious and decorated vessels, he also prays for those that are ugly and inferior because they are works of his hand.

It is the same with our Lord Jesus Christ, who possesses the treasuries of numerous mercies, who alone is compassionate with his good father and Holy Spirit: just as he rejoices over the person who is honored and adorned with the pure progress of virtue and abstinence, he also rejoices over the conversion of someone who is inferior, that is, the sinner, as it is written, There will be rejoicing in Heaven in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner if he repents. (Luke 15:7)  He also said, I do not desire the death of the sinner so much as his conversion and his life. (Ezekiel 33:11; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9)  When he took on this flesh, he also willingly accepted its griefs.  On account of this, our Lord Jesus Christ also says, I have not come to invite the righteous to repentance but sinners. (Matthew 9:13)

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