I’ve recounted this story that happened years ago while retreating for a couple of months at a monastery. I think the message of it is very relevant to all the stuff going on right now and the moods the ‘stuff’ carries with it.Continue reading Flip it on his head.
I was surprised and saddened recently when I heard the news of the departure of Abouna Benyameen. For those of you who visited St. Antony’s monastery in California in the early 2000s, and those of you who are Baramos sons, Abouna Benyameen is no stranger to you. For those of you who didn’t, you missed out. It’s clear to me already that I won’t be able to keep all the stuff about Abouna to one blog, so I’ll include some things here and save others for reflection on another time.
Continue reading Modern Elder: Remembering Abouna Benyameen el Baramosy
Abbâ Muthues used to say that there were three brethren who were in the habit of coming to Abbâ Antony, and that two of them used to ask him questions about the thoughts, and about life, and redemption, and the discretion (or intelligence) of the soul, whilst the third one held his peace continually. And after a long time Abbâ Antony said unto him, “Brother, thou comest here each year, and askest nothing!” And he answered and said unto the old man, “It is sufficient for me to see thee.”
The Paradise or Garden of the Holy Fathers (Vol. 2, p. 189)
Some old men said, “If you see a young man climbing up to the heavens by his own will, catch him by the foot and throw him down to the earth; it is not good for him.”
– Paradise of the Fathers
This week I was saddened to hear about the passing of a righteous elder, Abouna Stefanos Anba Bishoy. He was a monk of several decades, and the right hand man and steward of the monastery of Saint Pishoy in Wadi Natrun. While Paradise rejoices at the arrival of a struggling hero, I cannot help but feel sadness at the fleshly separation, at the end of the day, I am still a man. I want to share some meditations about what I observed in him over the last two years.
Continue reading A true elder: remembering Abouna Stefanos
There’s a monastic story that left an impact on me and comes to mind a lot. The story goes like this:
There was a monk who entered anchoritic life – that is, he became a solitary. In this mode of life, he gave himself up to the sweet love of God, and felt many comforts that came from heaven. He felt the active presence of God, he felt joy in his prayers, and the supernatural was ever-present with him. There were physical and spiritual signs of God’s love at all times.
Continue reading The hermit who became a Bishop.
A youth finds himself in the monastery of the great Saint Antony. It’s not a normal occurrence, as this youth tends to dislike monasteries. It’s not that he has anything against monks or monasteries themselves, but rather that he finds them remarkably boring.
Continue reading A monastery, a monk, and a heart: paradigm shift on holiness.
It is pitch black. He is unaware that more than fourteen kilometres lay before him, in his mind there are only six. He begins to walk. In the distance he sees a semi-globe of light, and decides that it is the monastery. Since he could not see anything around him, he decides that walking in that direction is the wisest choice. In the darkness, he feels a presence; he is certain that he is not walking alone.
So, late last night I was exiting my room to go out, and I ran into Anba Serapamon, Bishop and Abbot of St. Pishoy’s monastery in Egypt. He had been sitting on the balcony watching the view of the ocean and city lights, when a wind slammed his door shut, and he was locked out. The saintly man, who has severe arthritis, walked up a humongous hill and up two flights of stairs with the most peaceful demeanor, to come and ask if I could kindly unlock the cell for him.