Sunday, June 28, 2009

Saying of the Desert Christians: Silence 8


When blessed Antony was praying in his cell, a voice spoke to him, saying, "Antony, you have not yet come to the measure of the the tanner who is in Alexandria." When he heard this, the old man arose and took his stick and hurried into the city. When he had found the tanner, he said to him, "Tell me about your work, for today I have left the desert and come here to see you."

He replied, "I am not aware that I have done anything good. When I get up in the morning, before I sit down to work, I say that the whole of this city, small and great, will go into the Kingdom of God because of their good deeds, while I alone will go into eternal punishment because of my evil deeds. Every evening I repeat the same words and believe them in my heart."

When blessed Antony heard this he said, "My son, you sit in your own house and work well, and you have the peace of the Kingdom of God; but I spend all my time in solitude with no distractions, and I have not come near the measure of such words."

Some thoughts:

Again I've frequently wondered why this anecdote would come under the heading of silence. My best guess is that this tanner does ntp have a lot of chatter going on in his head. He has simply come to believe that everyone else is a better Christian than he. Come to think of it, how much greater would be the silence if all Christians were to believe as the tanner does.


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