Friday, June 26, 2009

Saying of the Desert Christians: Silence 6


Amma Matrona said, "There are many in the mountains who behave as if they were in the town, and they are wasting their time. It is better to have many people around you and to live the solitary life in your will than to be alone and always longing to be with a crowd."

Some thoughts:

Amma Matrona is one of only 4 women whose teachings are recorded among the Sayings. While it is a pity that only 4 are remembered, I am thankful that they are. Women were as much a part of this movement to the desert as were men.

I am sure we have all had the experience of going on a silent retreat only to find at least one retreatant who is very sociable, wanting to make friends with all, instead of doing the work of the retreat. I suspect that is the person Amma means in the first sentence. It is hard to learn to love silence and solitude. This goes against what seems to me to be our most basic instinct: safety in numbers.

For these Desert Christians, however, the desire to love God above all others, the desire to be with Him only superseded all other loves and considerations.

Is God the primary relationship of love in your life? Is there anything you love or want more than God? If I were to answer this question honestly, I would have to say that there are times when my answer would have to be yes. God always recalls me to Himself and there are an increasing number of moments when I think that God is the one who does all the work in this relationship and my only task is to be receptive to what He will give.


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