Reflection on the Saying of a Desert Christian: anonymous

“My brother, do you consider yourself spiritually learned? From your deeds you can perceive the actuality of this character trait; for, exactly as the body is dead without the breath, so any knowledge, without accompanying spiritual works, is dead and of no benefit. So if it is wrong for a Christian not to know Scripture, it is doubly wrong when he knows Scripture, but nevertheless disdains it by not applying its teachings to his life.”

James 2:14-26 also addresses this very same issue.  Faith without works is dead.  What kind of works?  Good ones, such as the one Jesus tells us to do: loving God with every fiber of our being; loving our neighbor as ourselves; feeding the hungry; caring for the sick; clothing the naked; and providing for those unable to provide for themselves. Chapter Four of the Rule of St, Benedict lists seventy-two different good works.

It seems obvious, doesn’t it, that those who claim to be spiritual would actually make room in their lives to do charitable things for others but as we all know, so many don’t.  Some even claim to find a Scriptural basis for ignoring needs right under their noses.  This anonymous Abba had a definite sense of what happens to those who fail to pour out their hearts on behalf of others.  So does Jesus in Matthew 25.


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