LENTEN FIRE: Saturday Of The Fourth Week Of Lent

LENTEN FIRE: Saturday Of The Fourth Week Of Lent

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

Torn to pieces

A brother who had renounced the world and distributed what he owned among the poor, but who kept a few things for his own purposes, went to see Abba Antony, and when the old man learned what the brother had done, he said to him, “If you want to become a monk, go to the village, buy some meat, cover your naked body with it, and come here like that.”

When the brother did what Antony had commanded, the dogs and the birds cut his body to pieces.  When he went to meet the old man, Antony inquired if the brother had done as he had advised.  When that brother showed him his lacerated body, Abba Antony said, “Those who renounce the world and still want to keep some possessions are torn to pieces by the demons who wage war on them.”

We’re all in surgery together

Abba Isaiah said: “We are all as if in surgery.  One has a pain in the eye, another in the hand, a third in the veins, and whatever other diseases exist.  Among these, some wounds are already healed, but when you eat something harmful, they return once again.  This is what occurs to a person who is in repentance and yet judges or shows contempt toward others, because he must again return to repentance.  Since those in surgery have different illnesses, if someone cried in pain with regard to his own suffering, let no one else ask, ‘Why are you crying out?’ Is not each one concerned with his own pain?  Therefore, if the pain of my own sin is before me, (Psalm 51:3), I would not look at the sin of another, for everyone who lies in surgery observes the precautions of his own doctor, taking care not to eat whatever harms his wound.”

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