A Reflection on a Saying of a Desert Christian: Abba Achillas

“An elder went to visit Abba Achillas and saw him spitting blood from his mouth.

“What happened, brother,” he asked.

“And this man of forbearance replied. “What you saw was the word of a brother who shortly ago upset me. I struggled with difficulty not to answer him and I asked God to take the bitterness from my soul. And see how his word became blood in my mouth. Spitting, I cast out with it the affliction in my heart.”

Do I ever stop myself from blurting out a response that I later regret? Not nearly often enough.

When I have restrained myself, do I then pray that God removes from my heart the bitterness I may feel?  Or do I choose to dwell on it, nurturing the bitterness?  Usually the latter, I am ashamed to say.

I need to learn from Abba Achillas’ example.

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