LENTEN FIRE: March 14

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

Dress like the tax collector

Abba Evagrius said: “I visited Abba Macarius and said to him, ‘Tell me a word so I may live.’

He said to me, ‘If I speak to you, will you listen and do it?’

I said to him, ‘My faith and my love are not hidden from you.’

Abba Macarius said to me, ‘Truly I lack the adornment of virtue; you, however are good.  But if you cast of the pridefulness of this world’s rhetoric and clothe yourself in the humility of the tax collector, (Luke 18:9-14), you will live.'”

Friends indeed

A brother in a monastery was falsely accused of fornication and he arose and went to Abba Antony.  The brothers also came from the monastery to correct him and bring him back.  They set about proving that he had done this thing, but he defended himself and denied that he had done anything of the kind.

Now Abba Paphnutius, who is called Cephalus, happened to be there, and he told them this parable: “I have seen a man on the bank of the river buried up to his knees in mud and some men came to give him a hand to help him out, but they pushed him further in up to his neck.”

Then Abba Antony said this about Abba Paphnutius, “Here is a real man, who can care for souls and save them.”

All those present were pierced to the heart by the words of the old man and they asked forgiveness of the brother.  So, admonished by the fathers, they took the brother back to the monastery.

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