Monday, September 28, 2009

Sayings of the Desert Christians: Abba John the Dwarf 5


It was said of him (Abba John the Dwarf) that one day he was weaving rope for two baskets, but he made it into one without noticing, until it had reached the wall, because his spirit was occupied in contemplation.

Some thoughts:

Have you ever experienced this? When work and prayer blend?

Once there was this blessed day when I was on retreat and I was asked to help out by folding some of a stack of paper and slipping each folded piece into a plastic bag. The paper I folded was instructions on how to pray the Anglican Rosary and I was doing the preliminary work for shipping them out.

In the early afternoon just after lunch I took the box of materials into the library and sat at the table under the window where I looked out onto the property and watched the guinea hens as they scoured the yard for bugs, ticks, etc. Guinea hens are talkative birds. "Where are you? Where are you?" "Over here. Over here." "Here's a good spot. Here's a good spot." "I'm alone. You left me. I'm alone. You left me." "Here we are. We're sorry. Here we are. We're sorry." That seemed to be the burden of their conversations. As I watched the birds and prayed, I got lost in my head as if time stopped and there was only the glorious day, God's creation and the perpetual motion of the guinea hens. The best I can say was that I was in a Now. It ended only when Sister put her hand on my shoulder. She had been trying to get my attention to come to dinner.

As for the box of paper... I had folded all of it and put all of it into those plastic bags and without ever really knowing I was doing it. They had enough ready for 2 years worth of shipping, they told me. Sister also scolded me as I should have stopped the work for some afternoon prayer. I felt the whole afternoon was prayer. That day I learned that work and prayer can merge and blend. It often happens when I am knitting


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