Back in the 1700’s song writer Charles Wesley, his brother, John Wesley, and Richard Pilmore, were holding an outdoor service, when a mob attacked them pelting them with stones. They were compelled to flee for their lives. They found shelter behind a hedge. When night came they found their way to a deserted spring-house, where they struck a light with a flint-stone, washed their faces in the clear, cold water, brushed the dirt from their clothes, and felt at least a moment’s security from the missiles which had pelted them. Charles Wesley had with him a piece of lead hammered out into a pencil. He pulled it from his pocket, and composed this hymn: “Jesus, lover of my soul, Let me to thy bosom fly; While the nearer waters roll, While the tempest still is high!”
Wesley was thankful to God for the shelter he had found in the spring-house. And he wrote of a place of shelter open to all in Christ. People still need a shelter from life’s storms. People still need a place of quiet refuge. People still need a place where they can connect with one another and with God. The church has what we want.
- To Serve Others (faithinspires.wordpress.com)
One day some old men came to see Abba Anthony. In the midst of them was Abba Joseph. Wanting to test them, the old man
Monastery of Saint Anthony, Egypt
suggested a text from the Scriptures, and, beginning with the youngest, he asked them what it meant. Each gave his opinion as he was able. But to each one the old man said, ‘You have not understood it.’ Last of all he said to Abba Joseph, ‘How would you explain this saying?’ and he replied, ‘I do not know.’ Then Abba Anthony ‘Indeed Abba Joseph has found the way, for he has said: “I do not know.”
—–Abba Anthony of Egypt
“I do not know.” These are the four most difficult words to say in our society. Admitting these words has been difficult for people since the beginning. We are created with a “must know” nature. All men run from mystery, and yet God is a mystery. He calls us to believe what we have not seen. We are led to serve without knowing the results of our service. Be attentive to the voice of the Spirit that calls us to action, even to the things that remain mystery to us.
- Get up again! – Abba Sisoes (sayingsoftheorthodoxfathers.wordpress.com)
There is an old story told about a man by the name of Ali Facid. He had a small farm and a family. One day, the story goes, a Buddhist priest came by and said to Ali Facid: You know, there are valuable stones called diamonds, and if you get one of these you could be a wealthy man.” Ali Facid went to bed that night, but the words of the old priest haunted him. He was so obsessed that he felt that he must find him one of these diamonds so that he could become a ruler. He sold his farm, put his family out to neighbors and went out to find his acres of diamonds. Months passed. He was broken in body and spirit. His funds were gone. And at the Bay of Barcelona, he threw himself into the water, never to walk this earth again.
Meanwhile, the man who bought his farm bent over one day and picked up a little stone. He laid it on the mantle that night not knowing what it was. A few days later the old Buddhist priest came by and saw it and exclaimed: Ali Facid must be back from his search. No, came the response. Then where did that diamond come from? The farmer replied: I was out plowing in the garden and found it there. And friends, did you know that from that very garden came the jewels and diamonds that today adorn the crown heads of Europe and Russia. In Ali Facid’s own back yard there were acres of diamonds and he knew it not.
This is an old and often repeated story that speaks loudly to us. We, many times, neglect to see what’s around us for the adventure of a dream. That dream takes us away from the real blessings that God has given us.
St Anthony the Great (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Desert Fathers were monks, asethics and hermits who lived mainly in Egypt beginning around the third century. Their objective was to remove themselves from the many corruptions of the world and to seek God in the “emptiness” of the parched dry desert. The greatest of these was Antony who live a remarkably long life of 95 years and is considered the father of monasticism. Their main practices were: love for all men, silence and stillness to wait for God, recitation of scripture and withdrawal from society. They truly tried to get as close to God as possible.
Irvin J. Boudreaux
- Silence (friarinphiladelphia.wordpress.com)