Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday Morning in the Desert

It may seem to us that the Desert Fathers lived lives of grim austerity.  However, at times, their sense of humor was apparent through their stories, such as the story of two hermits whose humility prevented them from arguing with each other.  If I am ever asked to give the invocation at a session of Congress, I would be tempted to tell this story:

"Two hermits lived together for many years without a quarrel. One said to the other, 'Let's have a quarrel with each other, as is the way of men.' The other answered, 'I don't know how a quarrel happens.' The first said, 'Look here, I put a brick between us, and I say, 'That's mine.  Then you say, No, it's mine. That is how you begin a quarrel.' So they put a brick between them, and one of them said, 'That's mine.'  The other said, 'No, it's mine.'  He answered, 'Yes, it's yours.  Take it away.'  They were unable to argue with each other."

(From p. xv of "The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks" translated by Benedicta Ward). 

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