Sunday, May 29, 2011

On the one hand, on the other

"The same old man helped some thieves when they were stealing.  When they had taken away what was inside his cell, Abba Euprepius saw that they had left his stick and he was sorry.  So he took it and ran after them to give it to them.  But the thieves did not want to take it, fearing that something would happen to them if they did.  So he asked someone he met who was going the same way to give the stick to them."

"Abba Daniel said that when Abba Arsenius was at Scetis, there was a monk there who used to steal the possessions of the old men.  Abba Arsenius took him into his cell in order to convert him and to give the old men some peace.  He said to him, 'Everything you want I will get for you, only do not steal.'  So he gave him gold, coins, clothes and everything he needed.  But the brother began to steal again.  So the old men, seeing that he had not stopped, drove him away saying, 'If there is a brother who commits a sin through weakness, one must bear it, but if he steals, drive him away, for it is hurtful to his soul and troubles all those who live in the neighborhood.'"

The desert Christian: sayings of the desert fathers:  the alphabetical collection, trans. Benedicta Ward (New York, NY:  Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1980 [1975]), 62 (lacking in the systematic collection), 52 (X.23 =SC 474, p. 28).

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