Thursday, September 10, 2009

Saying of the Desert Christians: Abba Isidore 2


Abba Isidore went one day to see Abba Theophilus in Alexandria and when he returned to Scetis the brethren asked him, 'What is going on in the city?' But he said to them, 'Truly, brothers, I did not see the face of anyone there, except that of the archbishop.' Hearing this they were very anxious and said to him, 'Has there been a disaster there, then, Abba?' He said 'Not at all, but the thought of looking at anyone did not get the better of me' At these words they were filled with admiration, and strengthened in their intention of guarding the eyes from all distraction.

Some thoughts

One doesn't have to go too far from the Nile to be in the desert. Scetis and the other communities of hermits were quite near the delta of the Nile so the journey was feasible. Upon his return, the monks are quite naturally quite humanly curious to hear the news. Isidore, though, had practiced the custody of the senses so well that he saw no one except Theophilus.

Now I am none too sure I want to go through life with my eyes cast down so I don't see the beauties of nature or the face of Jesus in a chance encounter. On the other hand, I do deeply admire Isidore's dedication to keep his eyes and minds off of that which was none of his business.


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