Father Faber maintains that kindness makes life more bearable. He explains: “The burden of life presses heavily upon multitudes of the children of men. It is a yoke, often of such a peculiar nature that familiarity, instead of practically lightening it, makes it harder to bear. Perseverance is the hand of time pressing the yoke down on our galled shoulders with all its might. There are many men to whom life is always approaching the unbearable. It stops only just short of it. We expect it to transgress every moment. But without having recourse to these extreme cases, sin alone is sufficient to make life intolerable to a virtuous man. . . . The possibility of sinning, the danger of sinning, the facility of sinning, the temptation to sin, the example of so much sin around us, and, above all, the sinful unworthiness of men much better than ourselves—these are…
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One day at the cells, there was an assembly about some matter or other and Abba Evagrius held forth. ‘Abba, we know that if you were living in your own country you would probably be a bishop and a great leader; but at present you sit here as a stranger.’ He was filled with compunction, but was not at all upset and bending his head he replied, ‘I have spoken once and will not answer, twice but will proceed no further.’ (Job 40:5)
——–Sayings of the Desert Fathers
A key to knowing the meaning of the Abba’s words is to pay careful attention to the scripture he quotes. The story of the biblical character Job is a most fascinating and perplexing one. Job is a man of great wealth and influence and losses it all because of a random conversation between God and the evil one. The point at which we jump into this story is where Job finally decides to stop arguing his case to God and begins to listen to the Almighty as a man and not a peer. We all have callings in life, and we try to live them out with all our strength. We, like Abba Evagarius, are faced with the curiosity of our peers. In the midst of these questions we must come to a simple conclusion, and it is that we cannot always explain the ways of God in our life but we must live them out. After you have tried to figure it out several times it is time to be silent and remain attentive to Him. We are surrounded by a world that thinks we should have taken one turn and another in our journeys, but we are consoled that in following the will of the Master we have done the better thing.