A Whole Philosophy of Life

Contemplating Wadi Musa

Abba Isidore of Pelusia said, ‘To live without speaking is better than to speak without living. For the former who lives rightly does good even by his silence but the latter does no good even when he speaks. When words and life correspond to one another they are together the whole philosophy of life.’

—–Abba Isidore of the Desert

The age old saying of our actions speaking louder than our words is seen here in the words of the Abba. . We hear it in the words of Jesus, Buddha and all s world religions. Yet it is still the most difficult task that is faced by anyone desiring to follow the path of Jesus.

Words are easy, cheap, and abundant; actions are difficult, for they require discipline, time, and selflessness. Those virtues are ones that we develop over a lifetime of prayer and study. We are geared toward having answers and not actions. There are few among us who lack the cognitive knowledge of our obligation to our fellow man, but many who just give lip service only to giving and sacrificing for the sake of others.

Christians are called to know and do. We know the commands of God and we have hidden them in our hearts, but that is not the end of the story. Perhaps we even testify to the importance of refraining from gossip and slander, visiting the prisoner, clothing the naked, and feeding the stranger, but we utterly fail at putting action to our words. This dilemma existed in the church of 1600 years ago and it exists today. Perhaps, as the advice of the Abba tells us, we can learn from silence and be jolted into action-action that will become a whole philosophy of life.

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Filed under Christian Living, Contemplation, Desert Fathers, Missional Living, Silence

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