Sunday, November 1, 2009

Murky Water

This story was told: There were three friends, serious men, who became monks. One of them chose to make peace between men who were at odds, as it is written, "Blessed are the peacemakers" (Matthew 5:9).

The second chose to visit the sick. The third chose to go away to be quiet in solitude.

Now the first, toiling among contentions, was not able to settle all quarrels and, overcome with weariness, he went to him who tended the sick, and found him failing in spirit and unable to carry out his purpose. So the two went away to see him who had withdrawn into the desert, and they told him their troubles. They asked him to tell them how he himself had fared.

He was silent for awhile, and then poured water into a vessel and said, "Look at the water," and it was murky. After a little while he said again, "See now, how clear the water has become."

As they looked into the water they saw their own faces, as in a mirror. Then he said to them, "So it is with anyone who lives in a crowd; because of the turbulence, he does not see his sins: but when he has been quiet, above al in solitude, then he recognizes his own faults."

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