Abba Anthony, the first monk (I think?), certainly the first of the Desert Fathers, went into the desert as a young man. There he stayed for 20 years, wrestling with temptations of one sort or another. As regular readers will know, I asked God to use this period of Lent to show me my weaknesses (what in the name of sanity did I do that for? It was quite pleasant having one’s head buried in the sand). Lent is around six weeks in length. Not even 1% of Abba Anthony’s time. I ask myself, as I begin to recognise the significance of sacrifice, what is the level of my sacrifice? Do I need to sacrifice, or do I just need to say ‘yes’ or ‘God, help me’? I do not know the answers to these questions.
After my prayer asking God to show me my weaknesses, He has been gentle in His revelations. But today, good Lord! Tormented today by temptation. Days like today… it’s no wonder it took Anthony two decades. But God is always good. This I know.
‘Breathe through the heats of our desire
Thy coolness and Thy balm;
Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still, small voice of calm.’
Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.