Spending the morning reading and working through the writings of Anthony of Egypt is like spending the morning with an exercise trainer for the soul. Not easy, a fair bit exhausting and provoking, but pointing towards greater health.  Speaking of the ways of evil, he writes in his Letter Seven:

“Truly, my children, they are jealous of us at all times with their evil counsel, their secret persecution, their subtle malice, their spirits of seduction, their fraudulent thoughts, their faithlessness which they sow in our hearts every day, their hardness of heart and their numbness, the many sufferings they bring upon us at every hour, the weariness which causes our hearts to be weary at all times, all their wrath, the mutual slander which they teach us, our self-justifications in our deeds, and the condemnations which they sow in our hearts, so that we, when we are alone, condemn our fellows, though they are not with us, the contempt they send into our hearts through pride so that we become hard-hearted and despise one another, becoming bitter against each other with hard words, and troubled every hour accusing each other and not ourselves, thinking that our struggle comes from our fellows, judging what is outside while the robbers are all inside our house, and [furthermore, with] the disputes and divisions we have with each other until we have established our own words so that they seem justified in the face of the other, and they incite us to do things which we are unable to do (and whose time it is not), and makes us weary of things we do and which are good for us.”

As I was walking to work, and as I was getting started in my tasks, I was struggling with these exact thoughts, and so was heartily reminded and encouraged to retune and refocus, seeking after the goodness and benevolence of God that Anthony goes on to highlight, who doesn’t lead us away from our true self, but gives us a freedom to truly be who we have been created to be in a context of loving others around us.

This entry was posted in wisdom from the desert. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *