Lenten Wisdom From the Desert Day 14

Today’s saying one again involves Poemen (mon).

When I read this saying this morning I was reminded of the great benefit that can come through following the Daily Offices. It’s a practice that I find very hard to follow at the moment but hope to institute daily in whatever church I go to once ordained.

For three Summers I lived and worked at a Church where the offices were said daily and where there was a daily celebration of the Eucharist. It was such a beautiful experience to have each day framed by praying the office, your day never felt like it properly began or ended without them, and over the Summer I found myself more able to pray during the offices but also outside of them. There is a rhythmic stillness that accompanies saying the offices daily, and I think this stillness is what the Fathers found in the desert.

The daily common prayer, hearing the Scriptures, and being in that silence is the water droplets that wear the stone of our hardened hearts.

John, who had been exiled by the emperor Marcian, said, “One day we went to Syria to see Poemen, for we wanted to ask him about hardness of  heart. But he did not know Greek and we did not have an interpreter. When he saw we were embarrassed, he began to speak in Greek, saying, ‘The nature of water is soft, the nature of stone is hard, but if a bottle is hung above a stone letting water drip down, it wears away the stone. It is like that with the word of God; it is soft and our heart is hard, but if a man hears the word of God often it will break open his heart to the fear of God.'”

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