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Pray without ceasing – From the Desert Fathers

September 28th, 2010 by Fr. Vasile

There came to the abbot Lucius in Enna certain monks of the kind called Euchitae that is the Men of Prayer: and the old man asked them saying What kind of handiwork do ye do? And they said We touch no kind of handiwork but as the Apostle says we pray without ceasing. The old man said to them So ye do not eat? They said Yea we eat. And the old man said Now while ye are eating who prays for you? And again he questioned them saying Ye do not sleep? And they said We sleep. And the old man said And while ye sleep who prays for you? And they could find no answer.

And he said to them Forgive me my brethren but behold ye do not do as ye have said: but I shall show you how in working with my hands I pray without ceasing. For I sit by the help of God steeping my few palm-leaves and from them I weave a mat and I say Have mercy upon me O God according to thy loving-kindness: according to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. And he said to them Is this a prayer or no? And the said to him Yea. And he said When I abide all the day working and praying with heart and nouth I make sixteen denarii more or less and out of them I leave two at the door and I spend the rest on food. But whoso finds the two denarii prays for me while I eat and sleep: and so by Gods grace there is fulfilled in me as the Scripture saith Pray without ceasing.

Excerpted from: The Desert Fathers by Helen Waddell

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