Remember those who led you, who spoke the Word of God to you; and considering the result of their way of life, imitate their faith. Hebrews 13:7
“A brother who followed the life of stillness in the monastery of the cave of Abba Saba came to Abba Elias and said to him, ‘Abba, give me a way of life.’ The old man said to the brother, ‘In the days of our predecessors they took great care about these three virtues: poverty, obedience, and fasting. But among monks nowadays avarice, self-confidence, and great greed have taken charge. Choose whichever you want most.’
Abba Elias in The Sayings of the Desert Fathers, translated by Benedicta Ward (Kalamazoo: Cistercian, 1975) 72.
Today the Scriptures and Abba Elias call us to “remember” our “predecessors” who led us and spoke the Word of God to us. We are to consider the result of their way of life and imitate their faith.
But every generation must choose. They must choose what people “nowadays” are doing or follow the disciplines that are central to the Christian faith.
Avarice is the desire for gain. Self-confidence is rooted in pride. And, greed is linked to accumulation when fasting is the opposite. Every generation, every person must “choose whichever you want most.”
Generosity is a fruit of the Spirit and only flows from the one who exchanges the desire for gain, pride, and accumulation for poverty, obedience, and fasting.
Look closely at Jesus and those who followed after Him. You will see why the author of Hebrews exhorted us to remember them and imitate their faith.Read more