Sunday, May 17, 2009

Saying of the Desert Christians: Judging Others 3

Something I want to say... I make no attempt to teach in these little commentaries. I've been mulling over the Sayings for a long time and they have shaped my spiritual journey.

I also think that the Desert Christians can't help but be the role models for Episcopal Solitaries. Many centuries of monastic experience say that one must first live in the community before one is allowed to live the eremetic life. The Desert Christians were the first monastics. They did not live in religious communities, most of them and neither do we Solitaries.


A brother in Scetis committed a fault. A council was called to which abba Moses was invited, but he refused to go to it. Then the priest sent someone to him, saying, "Come, for everyone is waiting for you". So he got up and went. He took a leaking jug and filled it with water and carried it with him. The others came out to meet him and said, " what is this, father?" The old man said to them, "My sins run out behind me, and I do not see them, and today I am coming to judge the errors of another." When they heard that, they said no more to the brother but forgave him.

Some thoughts:

This is one of my very favorite Sayings. The mercy and the compassion jerks at my heart. Abba Moses personally identifies himself with the brother who committed the fault. He illustrates that he is as much a sinner as the brother, reminding the other monks that the same is true of them.

This Saying reminds me that Jesus preferred the company of those on the fringes, those that were considered not quite good enough. This Saying reminds me that none of us are quite good enough in the eyes of each other. But it is our eyes that we are to use? Are we to learn to see each other as God sees us: redeemed, forgiven, born anew?


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