Devotions: Week of August 3

I find it so challenging to live in a space alert to and faithfully discerning the sources of sin and evil while withholding the judgment that belongs only to God. The writings of a group of early church leaders we have come to refer to as the Desert Fathers and Mothers has taught me so much in this regard, so some of their sayings and parables are the writings that accompany our readings this week.
You may learn more about the Desert Fathers and Mothers 
Blessings to you this week - Laurie

Devotions for the week of August 3 

This week’s devotional readings continue the reflections on patience from the parable of the wheat and the weeds in Matthew 13. The Scripture readings are taken from the teachings in the New Testament about not judging – trust the good judgment of God to sort and remove the sources of sin and perpetrators of evil in God’s time. Refocus that energy given to judgment into producing the fruit of the kingdom.

The source of the daily readings may seem strange since they are taken from the Desert Fathers – a group of 4th century Christians who fled society to pray in the desert. As described by Thomas Merton, in those days men had become keenly conscious of the strictly individual character of ‘salvation.’ Society, limited by the horizons and prospects of life ‘in this world’ was regarded by them as a shipwreck from which each single individual man had to swim for his life. … These were men who believed that to let oneself drift along, passively accepting the tenets and values of what they knew as society, was purely and simply a disaster. The fact that the Emperor was now Christian and that the ‘world’ was coming to know the cross as a sign of temporal power only strengthened them in their resolve. The lessons that they learned and taught about refusing to judge but wrestling instead with one’s own temptations and demons are just as relevant in our time. This saying about the life of a monk is a pretty solid description of the life of a child of the kingdom of heaven:

An elder said, ‘This is the life of the monk: work, obedience, meditation, not judging, not backbiting, not grumbling; for it is written, ‘O you that love the Lord, hate the things that are evil’ [Ps 96:10]. The life of a monk is to have nothing to do with that which is unjust, not to see evil with one’s eyes, not to be a busybody, not to listen to other folks’ affairs, to give rather than to take away with one’s hands, not to have pride in one’s heart nor wicked thoughts in one’s mind nor to fill one’s belly, but rather to act with discretion in all things. In these the life of the monk consists.’
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