Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Down-to-Earth Truths in the Egyptian Desert

In his book Soul-Making, Allen Jones describes a visit to the Coptic Monastery of St. Macarius in the Egyptian desert.

His host, Father Jeremiah, a bearded monk of indeterminate age, filled him full of stories of the desert fathers. Like this one.

One day, it is said, Saint Macarius, among the wisest of monks, was asked by a young man, “Abba, tell us about being a monk.”

Marcarius responded, “Ah! I'm not a monk myself, but I have seen them!”

Gordon MacDonald, who recounts this story, picks up on the monk’s humility and stresses the truth that life is less about titles, roles, positions, realizations and intentions and more about becoming and letting our lives match our words.

Gordon MacDonald, A Resilient Life (Nelson Books: Nashville, 2004, 59-60).

Geoff Pound

Image: Monk from the Coptic Monastery of St. Macarius in the Egyptian desert (Photo courtesy of J P Quinlan and licensed under Creative Commons).