Wednesday, July 16, 2003

from the desert: cast out into the deep!

St. Isaac the Syrian tells us:

When a sailor travels across the sea, he watches the stars and by them he steers his ship, using them to direct him to harbor.

But a monk watches prayer because it sets him on the right course, directing him to that harbor towards which his way of life should lead.

A monk gazes at prayer at all times so that it may show him some island where he can moor his ship without fear, and then take on provisions. Then, once again he will set his course to another island.

Such is the voyage of the solitary while he is in this life. He sails from island to island, that is, from knowledge to knowledge, and by his successive change of islands, that is, of states of knowledge, he progresses until he emerges from the sea and his journey terminates at that true city whose inhabitants no longer engage in commerce, but where each one rests upon his riches.

Blessed is he whose voyage has not been put off course on this great sea!
Blessed is he whose ship has not broken up, and who has reached the harbor with joy!

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