The necessity of working
(MH – Leap day, February 29th, 2016)
There is the story of Abba John the dwarf in the desert fathers:
It was said of Abba John the Dwarf, that one day he said to his elder brother, ‘I should like to be free of all care, like the angels, who do not work, but ceaselessly offer worship to God.’ So he took off his cloak and went away into the desert. After a week he came back to his brother. When he knocked on the door, he heard his brother say, before he opened it ‘Who are you?’ He said, ‘I am John, your brother.’ But he replied, ‘John has become an angel, and hence- forth he is no longer among men.’ Then the other begged him saying, ‘It is I.’ However, his brother did not let him in, but left him there in distress until morning. Then, opening the door, he said to him, ‘You are a man and you must once again work in order to eat.’ Then John made a prostration before him, saying, ‘Forgive me.’
Many of dear souls, who have an idea of some kind of pristine “workless” monastic life that only prays without the work that goes with it; but this is not the case in real Life. Real Life that LIVES in Christ in the present always requires WORK secondary to the PRAYER!
How can I get this through to people?
Well, I am just going to shut up and allow people to discover how stupid we can be about these things – my, I am getting “cranky” in my old age (smiling).
Seriously, we are exhorted through this story of Abba St. John the dwarf – it is a lesson for all of us; something that each of us must daily re-discover – each person within a community (especially of religious Brothers and Sisters – each must WORK and assist with the sustenance in this world of humans with the necessities of living).
Prayer and Work go hand in hand down the Pathway of following Jesus; it is just as true within the Church – utilities need to be paid along with the workers who must also eat and have a place to sleep and think in the realm of ministry?
Money does not grow on trees – so, we work for the money that is needed. In this world little can be done without money – but God supplies all our needs; but for even the religious in all houses of prayer and ministry there has to be the making of money for the work and sustenance.
Dear souls, we have to come to religious Life and Church Life – we must have a practical notion as to the need – and then set out to make that practical need our short term goal of Working, secondary to Prayer.
Abba Anthony the repentant sinner