Desert wisdom

Daily Reading for October 2

Syncletica said, “If you live in a monastic community, do not wander from place to place; if you do, it will harm you. If a hen stops sitting on the eggs, she will hatch no chickens. The monk or nun who goes from place to place grows cold and dead in faith.”

She also said, “The devil sometimes sends a severe fast that is too prolonged; the devil’s disciples do this as well as holy men. How do we distinguish the fasting of our God and King from the fasting of that tyrant the devil? Clearly by its moderation. Throughout your life, then, you ought to keep an unvarying rule of fasting. Do you fast four or five days on end and then lose your spiritual strength by eating a feast? That really pleases the devil! Everything that is extreme is destructive. So do not suddenly throw away your armor, or you may be found unarmed in the battle and easily captured. Our body is the armor, our soul is the warrior. Take care of both, and you will be ready for whatever comes.”

Quoted in Where God Happens: Discovering Christ in One Another by Rowan Williams (Boston: New Seeds, 2005).

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