Reflection on a Saying of a Desert Christian: Abba Moses the Black 5

“And see what Abba Moses says of prayer: “Take care to maintain deep in your heart cognizance of your sinful state, that your prayer might be acceptable. When you occupy your mind with your own sins, you will not have time to keep track of the faults of others.”

Having mentioned in the past that the Desert Christians, the first monks and mystics, took the concept of sin seriously, please note here the additional things Abba Moses the Black had to say.  When we remember we are sinners who commit sins, our prayer is more acceptable to God.  When we are busy recognizing and repenting of our own sin, we don’t have time to pay attention to the sins of others.  The log in my eye and the splinter in yours.

Sin is just not a popular topic, is it?  When we sin, we feel guilty.  Or so I should hope.  Unfortunately, modern society is teaching us that since guilt is so uncomfortable, instead of talking about sin we talk about the foibles of human nature. 

But is there really a difference between human nature and having a sinful nature? While we may not believe in a literal Adam and Eve, their story teaches us that humanity fell from grace into sin. And the sins of one generation affects generations and generations of people.  Of course, today we call them dysfunctional families.  Dysfunctional people act in sinful ways. We don’t have the right to stay in our dysfunction because when we do, we hurt other people and God.

Having grown up in a thoroughly dysfunctional family, having gone through a lot of my life clinging to my dysfunction because it was familiar and therefore felt safer to me, I came to realize that confronting that dysfunction within me would set me free. I am still a work in progress. But I like it much better.


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