Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sayings of the Desert Christians: Abba John the Dwarf 6


Abba Poemen said of Abba John the Dwarf that he had prayed God to take his passions away from him so that he might become free from care. He went and told an old man this; 'I find myself in peace, without an enemy,' he said. The old man said to him, 'Go beseech God to stir up warfare so that you may regain the affliction and humility that you used to have, for it is by warfare that the soul makes progress.' So he besought God and when warfare came, he no longer prayed that it might be taken away, but said, 'Lord, give me strength for the fight.'

Some thoughts:

Abba John really wanted to be free of care. We read the other day about how he wanted to be like the angels, free of care. Have to admit, it sounds good to me.

A theme that used to be more common in science fiction than it is today was utopian societies. These stories were all pretty boring until some outside force impacts on the utopia. Without conflict, a story would not be interesting. I have heard more than one Christian tell me that heaven sounds like a boring place where nothing ever happens. I tell them that I think we can't begin to envision what it will be like to see God face to face and how that will so fill us up.

Abba John's mentor knew that in order to grow, in order to prevent vanity and pride, we need conflict in our lives to remind us of how much we need to rely on Jesus and not ou


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