How To Become Holy And Happy Quickly
Once upon a time, there was a young man
who came to an old hermit in the desert and
asked him: "How can I become holy and
The old man replied, "It's easy. Just
go to one of those caves over there and take
your Scriptures with you, read them night
and day and you will find what you are seeking."
The young man, off he went and obeyed and
came back in three days. "How is it
going?" the hermit asked him expectantly.
"Terrible," the young man said,
and he complained that it was boring and
his mind was wandering and he didn't remember
much of what he was reading and didn't understand
The old man smiled at him and said, "Don't
worry. You're doing just fine. Go back and
keep reading every hour of the day, but add
one thing to your practice: get a wicker
basket and fill it with sand and set it outside
the entrance to your cave. Every morning
and every evening, go to the spring and get
a bucket of fresh water and pour it over
the sand in the basket. Come back in about
seven days and tell me how you're doing."
Off the young man went, obeying dutifully
what the Master told him, and returned at
the end of the week.
"How is it going now?" the old
man asked. "Still terrible," was
the laconic answer. "I drift off constantly,
and I don't understand anything .... It's
even worse than before."
"What about the sand?" "Oh,
that - I pour water in, just as you told
me. Some of it leaks out of the bucket, some
of it pools at the top and some sink down
in the basket full of sand."
"Good," said the old hermit, "you're
doing just fine. Go back and continue, and
return every week to tell me how it's going."
Off the man went again, doing exactly what
he had been told and every week he came back
with the same report. Nothing was happening
One day, however, he came and announced that
something had changed: all the sand was gone
from the basket!
"Good," said the old hermit.
"But I'm just as unholy as before and
now I'm pouring water into a clean basket."
"Yes," said the old man, "and
the same thing is happening to you, you just
don't know it yet. You see, you are the basket
and the Word of God is the water that you've
been pouring over the sand. The sand is your
sins, deficiencies, weaknesses, pride, unhappiness,
needs, selfishness, impatience.
The basket doesn't remember which drop of
water washed away which grain of sand, but
the sand can't resist the water. And neither
will you remember which Word washed away
which sin, but all that requires to be changed
in you, will be transformed. Your soul can't
stand long unchanged against the water of
the Word of God.
Go home now and live your life, but keep
pouring the Word of God over your life and
some day you'll know what it's like to be
the clean basket, empty and open, and ready
to carry life …"
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
granted for any non-commercial use,
that the content is unaltered from
state, if this copyright notice is