“When Abba Anthony thought about the depth of the judgments of God, he asked, ‘Lord, how is it that some die when they are young, while others drag on to extreme age? Why are there those who are poor and those who are rich? Why do wicked men prosper and the just are in need?’ He heard a voice answering him, ‘Anthony, keep your attention on yourself; these things are according to the judgment of God, and it is not to your advantage to know anything about them.'” (excerpt taken from “Sayings of the Desert Fathers” 1975, translated by Benedicta Ward, Cisterian Publications).
A very valuable lesson for all of us. We spend far too much time focusing on things that are of no value to us, nor any others, spiritually. Better that we should focus on our own walk with God and edify others, than that we should focus on the faults of others and tear them down, rendering our own walk as a secondary focus in our lives. St Mark the Ascetic teaches us that “the wise and spiritual man, when he reads the words of Holy Scripture, will apply them to himself, not to others.” When we focus on the faults of others, we ignore our own. If we seek to find fault in others, we will find it, but better that we should build up others while looking to our own faults, which are many, and humbly falling before the Lord, as the publican, repeating the prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.” May this one prayer ever be on our lips and in our hearts.
May the peace of the Lord be with us all, my beloved brothers and sisters.