Reflection on a Saying of a Desert Christian: Abba Pambo

“The monk should wear a garment of the kind that, if he threw it away outside his cell, no one would steal it for three days” (Abba Pambo).

Must admit it.  No matter how many times I read this saying my first reaction is horrified laughter. Overseas friends tell me here in the USA we overdo the sanitary thing, that no one needs to take a shower every day.  No one needs a clean shirt every day.

Abba Pambo is clearly at the other extreme. But there has to be something more to glean from this Saying than that Pambo didn’t wash his clothes often enough.

Perhaps he is talking about vanity and that a monk should not be vain about his appearance. Perhaps he is talking about humility and that a monk should not be concerned with what other people think of him. Perhaps he is talking about possessions and that a monk’s should not be fine, but useful.

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