Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Saying of the Desert Christians: Gentleness 3


A hunter in the desert saw abba Antony enjoying himself with the brothers,
and he was shocked. Wanting to show him that it was necessary sometimes to
meet the needs of the brothers, the old man said to him, "Put an arrow in
your bow and shoot it." So he did. And the old man said, "Shoot another,"
and he did so. Then the old man ssaid, "Shoot yet again," and the hunter
replied, "If I bend my bow so much, I will break it." Then the old man said
to him, "It is the same with the work of God. If we stretch the brothers
beyond measure, they will soon break. Sometimes it is necessary to come down
to meet their needs."

Some thoughts:

To be honest, this particular saying always strikes me as a bit
patronizing. But everything I've read about St. Anthony says he was
anything but patronizing. So this challenges me to look past my own issues
which I may be reading into the text and try to find something else in it.

Today as I read this, I am reminded of the Jewish Law and how impossible it
was to keep all of the Law perfectly all the time. Knowing this, God came
down to meet our needs in the Incarnation showing us what it truly means to
be human and to live in relationship with God.


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