Daily Reading for January 17 • The Second Sunday after the Epiphany, and the Feast of Antony, Abbot in Egypt, 356
A brother said to an old man, “Abba, I go and beg the old men to speak to me about the salvation of my soul, and I do not remember any of their words, so what ought I to do? Continue to ask them, but do nothing? In truth, I am altogether in impurity.”
Now there were two empty jugs there, and the old man said to him, “Bring me one of the jugs, put oil in it and wash it, then go and put it back in its place.” He did this several times.
The old man said to him, “Now bring the two jugs together, and see which is the cleaner.” The brother said, “That in which I put the oil.”
The old man said to him, “So it is also for the soul; for, even if it retains nothing of what it has asked, yet it is more purified than the one which has not asked anything.”
From The Wisdom of the Desert Fathers by Sister Benedicta Ward SLG (SLG Press, 1975).