LENTEN FIRE: February 26

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


Me too

A brother sinned and was kicked out of church by the priest.  Abba Bessarion stood up and went out with him, saying, “I, too, am a sinner.”

Some sort of wild animal

Abba Cassian said that a brother visited Abba Serapion and the old man invited him, as was his practice, to offer a prayer.  The brother, however, calling himself a sinner and saying that he was not worthy of the monastic habit, did not comply.  Abba Serapion also wanted to wash his feet and the brother, making use of the same words, refused.  The old man made the brother eat and while they were eating he began to admonish him in love, saying, “Child, if you want to be profited, stay in your cell and pay attention to yourself and your handiwork.  It’s not good for you to go out because going out does not have as much benefit as staying home.”

When the brother heard these things he was so exasperated and his face changed so much that the old man could not help but notice, so Abba Serapion said to him, “Up to now you have said, ‘I am a sinner,’ and accused yourself of not being worthy to live; and now, after I lovingly admonished you, you act like some sort of wild animal!  If you want to be truly humble, therefore, learn to bear nobly what someone else has said to you and do not keep empty words to yourself.”

When he heard these things, the brother asked the old man’s forgiveness and went away, having profited greatly.

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