Reflection on a Saying of a Desert Christian: anonymous

“A monk found a great deal of temptation in the place where he first began to struggle. Once he lost his patience and decided to go far away to find his peace. Just as he stooped to tie his sandals, he saw someone in front of him tying his sandals, too.

“Who are you?” he asked him.

“The one who is pushing you out of here. And I am making ready to precede you to where you plan to take refuge.”

“It was the devil who had tried to push him out; but he did not succeed at it, because the brother stayed in his cell after that and struggled with patience, until he conquered his temptations.”

I am reminded of something I heard James Garner say in a car commercial once upon a time.  “Wherever you go, there you are.”  It’s a popular phrase, has been the name of a book.  However, it originated with Thomas a Kempis, Imitation of Christ, ca. A.D. 1440.

How many times have we thought about the grass being greener somewhere else? Or if we change jobs, move to a different city, that we would leave all our cares behind us. Make a fresh start. Just doesn’t work that way, does it?

Our anonymous monk above thought if he moved to a new place, he would leave all his cares behind him.  I daresay he was taken aback when he learned that they would accompany him. Learning that, he remained where he was and got on with the job of seeking holiness.


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