Thursday, December 8, 2022

very thirsty

Macarius said, “If you are stirred to anger when you want to reprove someone, you are gratifying your own passions. Do not lose yourself in order to save another.”

Arsenius always used to say this, “Why, words, did I let you get out? I have often been sorry that I have spoken, never that I have been silent.”

Abba Macarius the Great said, “If we keep remembering the wrongs which men have done to us, we destroy the power of the remembrance of God.”

Abba Poemen (called the Shepherd) remarked, “Do not give your heart to that which does not satisfy your heart.”

Abba Poemen said, “The beginning of evil is heedlessness.”

Abba Isidore of Pelusia said, “The desire for possessions is dangerous and terrible, knowing no satiety; it drives the soul which controls it to the heights of evil.”

Amma Theodora said, “Let us strive to enter by the narrow gate, Just as the trees, if they have not stood before the winter's storms cannot bear fruit, so it is with us; this present age is a storm and it is only through many trials and temptations that we can obtain an inheritance in the kingdom of heaven.”

Abba Doulas, the disciple of Abba Bessarion said, “One day when we were walking beside the sea I was thirsty and I said to Abba Bessarion, ‘Father, I am very thirsty.’ He said a prayer and said to me, ‘Drink some of the sea water.’ The water proved sweet when I drank some. I even poured some into a leather bottle for fear of being thirsty later on. Seeing this, the old man asked me why I was taking some. I said to him, ‘Forgive me, it is for fear of being thirsty later on.’ Then the old man said, ‘God is here, God is everywhere.’”

The Sayings of the Desert Fathers, tr. Benedicta Ward SLG. Liturgical Press, 1975.

the wholeness

As we are not whole in our selves when divided from other humans, so we are not whole as humans when divided from all other creatures, so we are not whole as creatures when divided from the earth, from a home country and the landmarks and reminders of a home country. These connections we need to know, understand, imagine, and live out. Thus we complete our story as members and as persons. This is the wholeness that we long for, that we hear about from our forebears and our prophets. This is the work we are called to, individually and all together." 

Wendell Berry, The Need to Be Whole: Patriotism and the History of Prejudice. Shoemaker & Company, 2022. 484

an endless silent singing

Invisible even in a telescope magnifying sixty times, even in the purest summer sky, they drifted idly above the glittering Channel water. They had no song. Their calls were harsh and ugly. But their soaring was like an endless silent singing. What else had they to do? They were sea falcons now; there was nothing to keep them to the land. Foul poison burned within them like a burrowing fuse. Their life was lonely death, and would not be renewed. All they could do was take their glory to the sky. They were the last of their race.

J. A. Baker, The Peregrine. New York Review Books, 2005. 118.