Abba Abraham told of a man of Scetis who was a scribe and did not eat bread. A brother came to beg him to copy a book. The old man whose spirit was engaged in contemplation, wrote, omitting some phrases and with no punctuation. The brother, taking the book and wishing to punctuate it, noticed that words were missing. So he said to the old man, ‘Abba, there are some phrases missing.’ The old man said to him, ‘Go, and practice first that which is written, then come back and I will write the rest.’
—–Sayings of the Desert
I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready, for you are still of the flesh. For as long as there is jealousy and quarrelling among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations?
—–1 Corinthians 3:2-3
In my office there are many books, some I have read, and some I have not read. Within my collection are books that I have not read since my seminary days. Somehow I am comforted by the clutter of words that surround me and forget that a book is no good unless it is read. The Abba and Paul hit this subject head on.
If we do not use what we have, how can more be of any use to us? Most of us, like the Corinthians and the brother of the story are crying out for fullness and never use what we already possess. We have to begin our spiritual journey by applying the knowledge we possess to our pilgrimage .As we are nourished by the milk we have been given, we then push forth to a higher plain of knowledge. Our spiritual passage begins with the life messages that God has given to us and our application of them. Far too many times we get well ahead of ourselves and begin drowning in an overload of spiritual information with the false illusion that more is better. Only later we discover that we have wasted precious time for blessing by coveting more that we can apply.
Lord help me to absorb with diligence and humility all that you have revealed to me. May I spend my days trying to grow into the Christian that you created. This day I give to you what I know and understand, and I will wait with patience for what is to come. Amen
- Virtues, and how to attain them – Abba Isaiah of Scetis (sayingsoftheorthodoxfathers.wordpress.com)