Theory and Work

Someone said to blessed Arsenius, ‘How is it that we, with all our education and our wide knowledge get no- where, while these Egyptian peasants acquire so many virtues?’ Abba Arsenius said to him, ‘We indeed get nothing from our secular education, but these Egyptian peasants acquire the virtues by hard work.’

—sayings of the Desert Fathers

This lesson from the desert takes us to the crossroad of learning and doing. Theory of life can only take us so far, but doing (work) is where we truly learn. Every follower of Christ wants to live a virtuous life, and many spend a great deal of time studying about such a life. Sadly, a life of virtue is never lived out in isolation. We must be workers in the world and flesh out our virtues as we interact with the world. For in the interaction we find the need to turn to God, and in our turning He gives us virtues that can never be attained by learning.

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Filed under Ascetics, Desert Fathers, missional, Prayer

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