The Wisdom of the Desert
"If, wishing to correct another, you are moved to anger, you gratify your own passion. Do not lose yourself in order to save another." -Abbot Macarius, 4th Century Desert Father.
Given the political climate, and the anger that is both being waged and felt, it's imperative that we not lose who we are or what we are called to be. A wise man won me over to his side with one simple statement, "No one was ever beaten into heaven." Instead we love them, as God loves them and us; welcoming all as God welcomes.
Thomas Merton in his book The Wisdom of the Desert, offers many wonderful stories and words of wisdom from the Desert Fathers. These men (and women) abandoned society for the solitude of the African, Arabian, and Persian deserts. They became, what we would call them today, hermits or shut-in's.
They weren't anti-social, but instead sought to live a life that honored God, and would sacrifice their own needs for the needs of others. Merton writes, "They sought a God whom they alone could find, not one who was "given" in a set, stereotyped form by somebody else." They did not reject the dogmatic formulas of the Christian faith, but sought to cling to them in the simplest, most basic and elementary forms. "Their flight to the arid horizons of the desert meant also a refusal to be content with arguments, concepts, and technical verbiage."
We too should abstain from such arguments and ideas that cause others to stumble. As one elder in the desert taught, we are to remove ourselves from rash confidence, and learn to control our tongues. And, "If anyone speak to you about any matter do not argue with him. But if he speaks rightly, say: Yes. If he speaks wrongly say to him: You know what you are saying. But do not argue with him about the things he has said. Thus your mind will be at peace.
Jesus calls us to be peacemakers. This does not so mean we have to sacrifice our opinion or our beliefs. It just means we have to be mindful on how we present them. We are called to bear the fruit of love; "abide in love... so that your joy may be complete" (Jn. 15:7-11).
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An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one" ~John 17:21
“Prius vita quam doctrina.”
~ St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
* “Life is more important than doctrine.”