For the helpless people it is better to be guided slowly towards the works of repentance

  1. From Patericon

A brother who had fallen into temptation, videlicet into sin, because of his sorrow left the monastic canon. Then when he wanted to start that again was impeded by sadness saying to himself: `When will I find myself as I was before?

And losing his courage he didn’t have the strength to begin the monastic life.

He went to an elder and told him what troubles he had. And the elder hearing about that told him the following story:

`A man had a parcel that became fallow and was full of weeds and briar because of his recklessness. Then he thought to take care of it and said to his son: `Go and clear the land.` His son went to do that but when he saw so many thistles he said to himself: `When will I be able to clear the soil of all this?` Then he lied down and fell asleep. When he woke up he looked again at the thistles and feeling idle, stayed down. Thus he wasted long days – according to the Scripture [1] without doing anything, only sleeping and turning around like the door in its hinges.

Then his father came to see what he had done and found that he hadn’t worked at all. He said:

`Why didn’t you work at all until now?`

He answered:

`Father, when I came to work and saw such a plenty of weeds and thistles I was overwhelmed by despair and sorrow lied down and slept. That’s why I didn’t do anything. His father said:

`My son. Do every day as much as it is your bedside width. Thus your work will advance and you won’t be discouraged again. The young man did as he was told and in a short time the land was cleared.

Thus you brother work little by little and do not despair. And God will place you again with His grace in your former order.`

The monk listened to him and sitting patiently he did as he was told by the elder. And he found rest with the grace of God.

[1] Pr. 26,14.

Excerpt from EVERGHETINOS – First edition 2007  Holy Monastery Vatoped Vatoped vol. I, Theme 4 – Metropolis Press Publishing, Athens, Greeece, 2007.