Reflection on a Saying of a Desert Chrisitan: Abbas Joseph and Lot

At the time that Abba Lot was still young and inexperienced in the ascetic life, Abba Joseph, his elder, frequently gave him this advice: “You will never become a good monk,” he told him, “unless you preserve the flame of faith unextinguished within your heart. It will enlighten you to disdain honors and comforts. Give up your own desires and, in general, keep all of the divine commandments.”

This will not be the last time we hear from Abba Joseph speaking to Abba Lot.  Abba Joseph also speaks my very most favorite of all the Sayings.

As I read these words today, I can’t help but reflect upon how unfit I am today to say anything at all.  had insomnia last night and my attention is not on the flame of faith at all.  My attention is on how groggy I feel, the headache from lack of sleep, a sorta nausea due to lack of sleep. No, the flame of faith is not at the forefront of my mind and heart this morning.

How do we keep the flame of faith unextinguished?  How do we maintain any fire?  We feed it.  So too must we feed the flame of faith even when we feel least like it. We know how: the faithful practice of our spiritual disciplines, letting them dwell within us even when our minds might not be engaged.  There is more to feed than our minds.  We feed our hearts, souls, spirits also.

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