Little by little

A
brother fell into temptation; that is, to sin. So great was the
sorrow that he suffered, that he abandoned his monastic rule. And
though he wanted in principle to repent, he was impeded from doing so
by his sorrow, saying within himself, “How can I restore myself to
what I was before?” Being thus remiss and negligent, he did not
have the power to take up his monastic work. 
So, he
visited an Elder and confessed all that had befallen him. 
The
Elder, on listening to the matters which were tormenting the monk,
related the following example to him in the form of an instructive
parable. 
“A
man,” he began by saying, “had a field. On account of his neglect
of it, it became fallow and was overrun by weeds and brambles. After
some time, this man thought about attending to his field and
cultivating it. So, he ordered his son to clean it up. And, indeed,
his son went to clean the field; ut as soon as he saw that it was
full of thorns, he was discouraged and said to himself: ‘I would
never be able to uproot all that to clean this field.’ So he lay down
and went to sleep. 
“After
a bit, he awakened and, gazing again on the vast number of brambles,
became depressed by it all and lay on the ground, sometimes sleeping
and sometimes rolling over from one side to the other, the way a door
swings on its hinge, as in the proverb: ‘As the door turneth upon its
hinge, so doth the slothful man upon his bed. The slothful man hideth
his hand in his bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his
mouth’ (Proverbs 26:14-16). He spent several days thusly, without
working and inactive. 
“In
the meantime, his father came along to check what he had done in the
field. Finding his son idle and indecisive, he said to him, ‘Why have
you done nothing up to now, my child?’
“The
son answered, ‘Father, as soon as I started to work and saw this mass
of wild weeds and brambles, I lost my desire to work, lay down, and
fell asleep. And so right up to today I have still done nothing.’ 
“’Do
not worry, my son,’ the father replied, ‘every day you can clear an
area the width of your bed, and thus your work will progress without
inactivity crushing you.’
 
“Indeed,
the son followed his father’s advice, and in a short time he had
cleaned the field of brambles and weeds. 
“And
in this way, my brother, you can work little by little, without
risking the danger of being negligent. And God, seeing your desire to
work, will restore you to your former rank.”
The
monk carefully listened to these suggestions, persisted with
patience, and applied the directions of the Elder. 
And
indeed, by the grace of God, he attained to the peace which he had
sought.
Evergetinos Bk 1, Ch. 4.

One thought on “Little by little

  1. Thank you. Three days until Christmas, overwhelmed with everything that has yet to be done, both for the feast and just ordinary life, I needed some encouragement like this.

    Like

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