Abba Isaac: Have You Learned to Work in Silence?

Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple

Desert_Hermits_Square_3.jpegABBA ISAAC said, “When I was younger, I lived with Abba Cronius. He would never tell me to do any work, although he was old and tremulous; but he himself got up and offered food to me and to everyone. Then I lived with Abba Theodora of Pherme and he did not tell me to do anything either, but he himself set the table and said to me, “Brother, if you want to, come and eat.” I replied, “I have come to you to help you, why do you never tell me to do anything?” But the old man gave me no reply whatever. So I went to tell the old men. They came and said to him, “Abba, the brother has come to your holiness in order to help you. Why do you never tell him to do anything?” The old man said to them, “Am I a cenobite, that I should give him orders? As far as I am concerned, I do not tell him anything, but if he wishes he can do what he sees me doing.” From that moment I took the initiative and did what the old man was about to do. As for him, what he did, he did in silence; so he taught me to work in silence.”

—Abba Isaac, Priest of the Cells, Sayings of the Desert Fathers

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