Reflection on a Saying of a Desert Christian: anonymous

“A young monk, who had only shortly before left the world, was overcome by the desire to see his parents. He asked his elder for permission to go for a few days to his home. He, seeing the weakness of his disciple, sighed deeply and told him: “I am going to let you go, my child, but keep well in mind what I am going to tell you: When you set off from your home for here, you had God with you as a fellow traveler. Leaving here for your home, you will be completely alone.”

Please allow me to confess that I have been mulling this Saying for the past few days, unsure what to say because what could be wrong with filial love of parents but this morning I remembered the Benedictine principle of stability, that is staying in one place and not traveling all over.

The Desert Christians were committed to knowing God.  They took it seriously when Jesus said loving God preclude love of anyone else. They advocated staying in the desert, pursuing God. Clearly this elder thought that there are dangers in leaving the desert to visit loved ones.

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