Reflection on a Saying of a Desert Christian: anonymous

A beginning monk, who went to a certain elder to confess, posed, among others, this question: “Why, Father, do I fall so often into sloth?”

“You lack the faith which makes you see God everywhere; for this reason you can be careless and lazy about your salvation,” the discerning elder wisely explained.”

Sloth, laziness, maybe cutting one’s self way too much slack, are considered by the Desert Christians and a great cloud of other Christian witnesses (and I believe in Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, etc) to be a serious spiritual flaw, if not sinful behavior. What was the nature of this monk’s sloth? I daresay he had slacked off his prayers and study of Scripture. Perhaps he was visiting with other monks and passing the day in idle gossip. Or he found something he thought was more important than prayer.

The elder monk tells him that the sloth is due to a lack of faith. The faith to see God everywhere will impel the younger monk to pursue his salvation in prayer, contrition, repentance, humility, and obedience.

What I take from this is the necessity to make room for God in my daily life. To start my days with prayer and the Bible, to think of God often throughout the day, to look for the face of Jesus in every person I encounter, to treat everyone I encounter as though they were Jesus.

What might this Saying be telling you?

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