Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Inward Strife

How the abbot John learnt the lesson that inward strife is better than inward peace.

The abbot Pastor relates of John the Short that he once prayed, asking God to take away from him all passion. God granted his prayer; and he, being free from envy, anger, and all evil thoughts, was at peace. In his great gladness he went to a certain elder, and said to him, "Behold in me a man who has no strife nor contests. I am altogether at peace." But the old man, being grieved for John's sake, replied to him, "My son, go, ask the Lord to grant you occasion for strife. There is no way in which the soul advances towards God but by striving." Then John, knowing in himself that this was true, did as the old man bade him. Afterwards, when the necessity for constant strife came back upon him, he never again prayed that it should be taken away from him. Always he made this petition "Lord, give me grace to conquer in the strife."

Reference: http://www.archive.org/details/wisdomofdesert00birmrich