1500 Years Practice at Getting Along

Monastic Monday

Br. Monday will start following this advice just as soon as he finds a community that does nothing…

A brother questioned Abba Motius, saying, “If I go to dwell somewhere, how do you want me to live?” The old man said to him, “If you go live somewhere, do not seek to be known for anything special; do not say, for example, I do not go to the synaxis; or perhaps, I do not eat at the agape. For these things make an empty reputation and later you will be troubled because of this. For men rush where they find these practices.” The brother said to him, “What should I do, then?” The old man said, “Wherever you live, follow the same manner of life as everyone else, and if you see devout men whom you trust doing something, do the same thing and you will be at peace. For this is humility: to see yourself to be the same as the rest. When men see you do not go beyond the limits, they will consider you to be no different than anyone else, and no one will trouble you.”

Source: Some “Sayings of the Desert Fathers”

This reminds me of Abba Romanus’ advice on how to live at peace in a community: “I do not think I have ever told one of you to do something, without having first made the decision not to get angry, if what I said were not done; and so we have lived in peace all our days.” In some ways, monasticism boils down to 1500 years of figuring out how to get along.

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