Rest and Spirituality

 A hunter in the desert saw Abba Anthony enjoying himself with the brethren and he was shocked.  Wanting to show him that it was necessary sometimes to meet the needs of the brethren, the old man said to him, ‘Put an arrow in your bow and shoot it.’ So he did.  The old man then said, ‘Shoot another,’ and he did so.  Then the old man said, ‘Shoot yet again  and the hunter replied ‘If I bend my bow so much I will break it.’ Then the old man said to him, ‘It is the same with the work of God.  If we stretch the brethren beyond measure they will soon break.  Sometimes it is necessary to come down to meet their needs.’ When he heard these words “the hunter was pierced by compunction and, greatly edified by the old man, he went away.   As for the brethren, they went home strengthened.

——Abba Anthony

It is a novel thought for most people that relaxation and rest are an important part of life. The average American works 11 hours more per week that they did in 1970. The wise man of the desert pointed this out to the hunter, and it changed the hunter’s life. We need to rediscover the value of rest, and to acknowledge that it is necessary for physical and spiritual well being. Anthony and God were on the same page here. All of us need some to “relax the bow” before it snaps

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Filed under Antony of Egypt, Christian Living, Desert Fathers, Monasticism, Prayer, Rest

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