Glory to God for All Things

We Are Not Able To Do That

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From the Wisdom of the Desert Fathers

It was said that some philosophers came one day to test the monks. Now one of the monks passed by clothed in beautiful garments, and the philosophers said to him, ‘Come here’, but he, in anger, scorned them. Another monk, a Libyan, passed by, and they said to him, ‘You old scoundrel of a monk, come here’, and they compelled him to come. They gave him a box on the ear, but he offered them the other cheek. At once the philosophers arose and prostrated themselves before him, saying, ‘Truly this is a monk’. Then they sat him down in their midst and questioned him, ‘What do you, in the desert, do more than we? You fast, and we also fast; you watch, and we also watch; and all you do, we do also. What more do you who live in the desert do?’ The old man said to them, ‘We hope in the grace of God and we guard our thoughts.’ They said to him, ‘We are not able to do that.’ Edified, they took their leave.

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Orthodox Christianity, Culture and Religion, Making the Journey of Faith
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