Thursday, January 22, 2009

Welcoming Death

Agatho said, "A monk ought not to let his conscience accuse him of anything."

When Agatho was on his death-bed, he lay for three days with his eyes open, without moving. The brothers nudged him, saying, "Abba, where are you?"

He said, "I am standing before the judgement of God."

They said to him, "Are you afraid?"

He said, "I worked as hard as I could to keep the commandments of God but I am only human, and I do not know if my works will be pleasing in God's sight."

The brothers said to him, "Don't you trust in your work? They were in accordance with God's will."

He said, "I can't rely on that when I come before God, for the judgement of God is not the judgement of men." When they still tried to make him talk, he said to them, "Please don't talk to me, I'm busy." At these words, he breathed forth his soul with joy. They saw him welcoming death as one greets a dear friend. In everything Agatho was vigilant, and he used to say, "No one can achieve any of the virtues without taking care."

~~photo by Griffin Logue

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