I spend a lot time with the desert fathers and mothers, because I see so much in them that I want to be, to acheive, to harness. I try very hard not to pretend to myself or others, that anything I say either in person, or on the internet, could possibly have any merit on its own. I am very much aware that in fact, nothing I say has any merit on its own. I am not a brilliant theologian or even a student of theology and so most of what I say probably has no meaning for anyone but myself anyway.
Having recently been reminded of how disposable I am, through loss of employment, I have found my spirit restless and troubled by thoughts of inferiority, self-abasement, and shame. So it was with a troubled spirit, that I turned to the Desert Fathers once again, this morning. This is what I read:
“Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and said to him, ‘Abba as far as I can I say my little office, I fast a little, I pray and meditate, I live in peace and as far as I can, I purify my thoughts. What else can I do?’ Then the old man, Abba Joseph, stood up and stretched his hands towards heaven. His fingers became like ten lamps of fire and he said to him, ‘If you like, you can become all aflame.’ ”
I am reminded, that this life is not about employment, production of wealth, goods, or personal acclaim. It’s not about attracting for oneself, the honors that go with a brilliant education or patting yourself on the back for being from the “school of hard knocks.”
My aim in this life, must be above all else, to become “all aflame”. There is no other purpose in living, but to unite with God and to become a person with no enemies. And as in all things, this too is given as a gift of choice. Abba Joseph did not say “You must…” . He said, “If you like…”
The God we worship is truly the author of grace.