Lives of the Wild Saints #1
I am struck by the question: "It is true?"
We are often told to seek truth, and in one sense, this is indeed true and good. But, what you, Paul, have alluded to here is that not all truth is to be sought. There is some truth that is too high for us - the mystery of the workings of the Trinity being one (incidentally, trying to probe too deeply into this truth has led many a heretic into a myriad of falsehoods), and some truth is too dangerous for us - the knowledge of good and evil was truth for Adam and Eve, but not something they should have pursued. Same here with the truth (or otherwise) about our "greatness". It may be true that in one area or another, we excel and are the "best" but this is not for us to know and dwell on otherwise pride will come rushing into our lives like air into a vacuum.
It takes wisdom, therefore, to discern what truth to pursue, and what truth to leave to the One who knows all things and in whom there is no falsehood at all.
I love the picture and the story, Inspirational start to my day. Have just spent a weekend listening to Martin Shaw, story teller extraodinaire, on Dartmoor. There's something about the power of these universal legends, whether part of formal religions or not, that is deeply important to us in ways we may never understand. Thank you as always.
Beatiful! Can't wait to read the next instalments - and see the prints.
Thank you. I've seen the two saints together many times on Celtic and Anglo-Saxon crosses but never bothered to look up the story and find out what the ravens and lions were about: a sign of my superficiality and sloth.
Love it. Can't wait for the next one.
Thank you. We need these holy fathers now more than ever.
I'm looking forward to this series, and to Holy Wells continuing.
Two old men, thoughts in the night, death, prayers, judgement, friendship, handing on ... and where would we be without the creature world (and Angels and miracles)?
Maybe there is no burning. Maybe God just wants you to explain yourself. And maybe, if you feel you were lacking, and He feels you were trying, He will let you have another go. Perhaps the lesson from this story is that we lose ourselves in groups and find ourselves in solitude (and the spirituality of solitude in particular). Who knows, maybe you can only find your true self if you find God. Your God. Who may, of course, be someone else's God too. Or not. If the Machine can't provide authenticity, meaning or truth, it will have to come from elsewhere. Perhaps the spirit, or whatever you want to call that part of yourself that simply won't be misled. Whatever the answers, I, for one, am learning a great deal from the journey you are taking us on. Thank you.
That's beautifully perfect! Thank you.
I hope and keep looking for St Gerasimos of Jordan to appear here in words or drawings.
A full loaf story. Thank you for this. Looking forward to the series.
You told this story beautifully, Paul, and I was very moved reading it.
Seeing that it turned on Thebes, I could not help thinking about what Thebes has brought to the world, in one form or another. The stories from and about Thebes. The house of Cadmos, in Ovid's "Metamorphoses", one of the most though provoking tales of Thebes and its people (if I am not mistaken).
Sophocles' "Oedipus Tyrannos" is set in Thebes, and Oedipus is not just anybody.
At the end of "Oedipus Tyrannos", Oedipus has gone from riches to rags, and leaves the city as a pariah, the farthest thing from a saint anybody can imagine. But by the time Sophocles has finished with him, in "Oedipus at Colonus", Oedipus has done his penance, although he still retains his... pride. His pride in being a man, an old man, no longer erect, because he must lean on a staff to get around, or on the shoulder of his daughter Antigone who accompanies him in exile, but still a man, still standing, and an angry man too. His end is as miraculous, and as hidden as the end of Paul of Thebes (maybe even more hidden, since he was not even buried).
I like comparing Paul of Thebes with Oedipus.
Buried by the lions, or carried off into the air, these were exceptional men with an aura and the power to inspire our imagination to keep us... standing, still ? Yes, we need to keep their memory alive in our stories, and back to the beginning, thank you for this story that I did not know at all.
We cannot have too many warnings about spiritual pride. It lies behind every judgment we make of others, and as this story clearly shows we are never so old or experienced in religious life as to be free of it.
Thank you for writing this, I really appreciate the turn your writing has taken.
there is a word for being given what is most wanted though you don't know it till you see it, but I will have to just say gratitude.
Loved the story (and the artwork) - loved the haunting power and simplicity ... even delicacy of the way it was told!
I just wanted to sit with it, like the Virgin Mary "contemplating what she had heard in her heart"...... what is its message? How does it touch me? The picture of sand dunes, palm trees and Anthony's useless efforts to dig a resting place for an old, emaciated lifeless figure lingers on in my mind....
Finally a thought emerges,- a raven returns with a morsel of bread right from the ancient Egyptian desert: Anthony was surely a great saint! He could decipher the divine message and accepted his role from the most accomplished saintly monk of the desert to a mere grave-digger (of the feeble kind who needed extra and extraordinary help to carry out even that task!)
Great saints- great story!
There is another story about Anthony, one my priest likes to tell, where Anthony was again shown someone greater than he in prayer in humility. Anthony was granted a brief visit to a city where a poor cobbler, making and mending shoes, was simply praying for each person he saw pass by. Praying that they might each be saved, while he, the cobbler, would be content even if he himself were not saved, so long as those who passed by were.