LENTEN FIRE: February 16

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


I am sorry for my sin

A brother questioned Abba Poemen, saying, “What should I do?”  He said, “It is written, I confess my iniquity, I am sorry for my sin.” (Psalm 38:18)

He will soon plant others

Abba Mark asked Abba Arsenius, “Is it good to have nothing extra in the cell?  I know a brother who had some vegetables and he has pulled them up.”

Abba Arsenius replied, “Undoubtedly that is good but it must be done according to a person’s capacity.  If he does not have the strength for such a practice he will soon plant others.”

That is a lot

A brother questioned Abba Poemen, saying, “I have committed a great sin and I want to do penance for three years.”

The old man said to him, “That is a lot.”

The brother said, “For one year?”

The old man said again, “That is a lot.”

Those who were present said, “For forty days?”

He said again, “That is a lot.”

He added, “I myself say that if a person repents with his whole heart and does not intend to commit the sin any more, God will accept him after only three days.”

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