Archive for June 20th, 2008

When Insults No Longer Annoy

June 20, 2008

Amma Dionysia gave alms to a beggar, but less than he wanted. The beggar began to speak harshly to her, and Dionysia took offense, wanting to strike back.

Abba zosimas corrected her, saying, “You are striking against yourself. You are chasing every virtue from your soul. Can you endure what Christ endured? My lady, I know that you have given away your possessions as though they had no value. But until you become meek, you are like a metal smith pounding a bar of iron and failing to produce a useful object. You will know you have become meek when insults no longer annoy you.

From the Sayings of the Desert Fathers

I read such stories and know how far I am from such meekness. I have a new set of CD’s with a retreat led by Igumen Jonah Paffhausen to which I am eagerly looking forward. However, I know that the beginning of his retreat is on the word, “Do not react.” It will be one more word on meekness. How will we ever inherit the earth?