Reflection on a Saying of a Desert Christian: anonymous

“A certain industrious monk, who struggled for virtue with all of his powers, once weakened and fell into laziness. However, he quickly recovered and said to himself: “You poor man. Since when do you scorn your salvation? Do you not fear death and judgment?” With such thoughts, he became more eager in God’s work.

“One day, while he was praying, wicked spirits gathered around him and tried hard to distract him from his prayer.

“Why are you tormenting me?” the brother said with exasperation. “Was it not enough that you pulled me down into sloth so many times?”


“When you were lazy, you did not give us the slightest trouble,” the demons answered with malice, “and we ignored you. Now that you oppose us, we battle you.”

“When the brother heard these things, he pushed himself all the more in spiritual struggle and, with the grace of God, progressed in virtue.”

Are you like I?  Start out with good intentions, pursue the whatever, the newness wears off, skip days here and there? Daresay we all have done that.

The Desert Christians never assumed they had virtue.  It was something to strive for.  Personally, in this day and age of complacency, I am attracted to the idea of striving for virtue.  The idea that we never arrive, but it is how we walk the journey is another idea I find compelling. Faithfulness to this day, its joys, its tasks, its privileges are more concepts I find compelling.

Of course, life offers many fascinating distractions to divert us from our intentions.  So many and such alluring, seductive distractions.How do we keep from flitting from one to another to yet another?

We commit to a purpose, a plan.  We commit.  We chose and say “this and not something else.” In marriage, as an example, ideally, we choose and commit and say “this person and no other.” And do the work to stay committed, to reject all other distractions from the spouse.

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