Friday, June 19, 2009

Saying of the Desert Christians: Life Together 4


There was an anchorite who was gazing with the antelopes and who prayed to God, saying, "Lord, teach me something more." And a voice came to him, saying, "Go into this monastery and do whatever they tell you." He went there and remained in the monastery, but he did not know the work of the brothers. The young monks began to teach him how to work and they would say to him, "Do this, you idiot," and "Do that, you fool." When he had borne it, he prayed to God, saying, "Lord, I do not know the work of men; send me back to the antelopes." And having been freed by God, he went back into the country to graze with the antelopes.

Some thoughts:

I'll be honest: This is not one of my favorites. I find it painful to read. Here is this man living with antelopes and if he was grazing with them does that mean he was eating their diet? I can only wonder what made this person do this? And then I read of the harsh treatment he received from those who were, presumably, younger than he. And back to the antelopes he goes.

It's a harsh Saying, is it not? Here we have a picture of a man who loves God and yet is unable to fit into human society and so he removes himself. When he does seek out the company of others, he is treated abusively. What makes it all the more harsh is that this is a pattern I see repeated every day. Those of us who are perceived to be marginal are very often abused by those who consider themselves to fit right in.

It is not only the homeless who are abused in this manner. One has only to observe children on the playground to see it. One has also to ask, where did the kids learn to treat others like that?


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