There was a monk in the desert in Egypt who was being tormented by many temptations. He thought that if he changed the environment and went to live somewhere else, the devil would release somewhat his attacks and so he would be more at peace.
Said and done. He got up, put on his cloak and was putting on his sandals to leave, when looking up, he saw another man who was doing the same as him – putting on the cloak and tying the sandals… He was taken aback.
“Who are you?” asked the monk. “I am you!” was the answer. “Wherever you go, I go. Anywhere you go, you take yourself with you. You can never escape yourself.”
Many have discovered to their dismay that changing external circumstances does not help much.
One of the brothers was living in a community, but very often the brothers would get on his nerves. So he said: “I will go and live alone. There I shall have peace.”
He left, found a cave in the desert and started living on his own. One day, whilst filling his jug with water, it slipped off his hand. He picked it up, filled it with water, but it slipped off again. Once more he picked it up, filled it with water… but it slipped off his hand yet again. When it happened the third time, he really got mad. He smashed the jug to the ground, shattering to pieces… When he came back to his senses he realised how the devil had misled him. “I will go back to the convent – he said to himself – because the struggle is everywhere and God’s help also is everywhere.”
Whatever you are trying to evade and whatever you wish to have, is probably within you. Look for it there…
A man was walking all by himself when he saw this kid looking for something on his knees. “What are you looking for?” he asked him. “The house key. I lost it.” This man too went down on his knees and started looking for it as well. After searching for quite a while to no avail, the man asked this boy, “But are you sure you lost it here?” “No, I did not lose it here. In fact, I lost it quite a distance from here!” “So why are you looking for it here?” replied the man. “Because there is more light here,” the kid answered calmly.
Sir Wilfred Grenfell, was a medical missionary pioneer in Labrador Canada. He worked really hard to improve the living conditions among the fishermen. One day, he found himself adrift on an ice flow, headed out to sea. He mercifully killed his dogs, made a coat out of their hides, put up a distress flag, and lay down and slept. Later he said, “There was nothing to fear. I had done all I could, the rest lay in God’s hands.”
Many think that they have to go far away to have a blissful life. They are wrong. Even in the place you are, you can meet God. “Blossom where you have been planted”, said this big poster in my high school classroom. I always liked it.
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.