Reflection on a Saying of a Desert Christian: anonymous

Another young man went astray, but repented so much when Divine Grace was visited upon him by the hearing of only one sermon, that he left the world and became a monk. He built a small but in the desert and cried each day over his sins with great compunction. But nothing could console him.

One night Jesus appeared to him in his sleep, encircled by a heavenly light. He went near the monk with kindness: “What is wrong, young man, and why do you cry with such distress?” He asked him in His sweet voice.

“I am crying, Lord, because I fell,” the sinful man said with hopelessness.

“O, then get up.”

“I cannot do it alone, Lord.”

So the King of Love stretched out His divine hand and helped him to get up. The monk, however, did not stop weeping.

“Why are you crying now?”

“I am in pain, my Christ, because I failed You. I wasted the riches of Your gifts on debaucheries.”

The benevolent Master tenderly placed His hand on the head of the suffering sinner and cheerfully told him: “Since you suffer so much for me, I will put an end to your sorrowing for things past.”

The young man looked up to thank his Savior, but He was no ,longer there. In the place where He had stood, a huge cross, all lighted, formed. Delivered at last from the weight of sin, he fell down and venerated it.

With gratitude in his soul, after this vision, the young man went back to the town in order to become a more fervent advocate of repentance and to guide many other strayers to Christ.

Today’s Saying reminds me of what is perhaps my very favorite poem:

Love (III)

BY GEORGE HERBERT

Love bade me welcome. Yet my soul drew back

                              Guilty of dust and sin.

But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack

                             From my first entrance in,

Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,

                             If I lacked any thing.

A guest, I answered, worthy to be here:

                             Love said, You shall be he.

I the unkind, ungrateful? Ah my dear,

                             I cannot look on thee.

Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,

                             Who made the eyes but I?

Truth Lord, but I have marred them: let my shame

                             Go where it doth deserve.

And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame?

                             My dear, then I will serve.

You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat:

                             So I did sit and eat.

The young man of the Saying and the person in the poem both struggle with their sin and guilt to such a degree that it is hard for them to see the God of love blessing them, inviting them, wanting them. In both cases, Jesus Love has to  intervene in a direct manner before they can see the truth.

It makes me wonder, what am I overlooking in my life? In what way is God directly intervening? Am I blind to it?

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