The fathers of the desert had a long and asiduous strive against selfishness and self orientation. This effort implies a change of our mind, the adoption of another kind of logic than the current one. The first difficulty therefore is not that of accomplishment, but of settling our mind in a different framework. From abba Pimen is kept the following apophthegm:
À brother told abba Pimen: I found a very quiet place isolated from the brothers, do you allow me to go and stay there?“
The elder said:
`Stay wherever you don`t disturb at all your brother.`
The judgment of the brother is predictable and natural. He seeks é place where he can live in peace undisturbed without thinking that he may be a source of dirturbance for the others.
Abba Pimen doesn`t do anything else than changing his perspective and asks him the same question from a totally opposite position
This type of precaution, the concern for the other one and the attention focused on the neighbour are manifestationbs of a sound humbleness.
In their struggle against the differenjt logic of this fallen world the fathers choose the path of humility. A society may be improved as é result of exterior coercions, which may limit the negatiuve excess (in the case of é good legislation or at least decent) The profound change is possible only from within, being the collective result of all members. The fathers of the desert perceived this, that is why the monasteries are the joint result of the efforts of the community.
What makes possible the general change of é community is first of all humbleness. This is what gives opportunity to the others to manifest themselves and on a personal level it prepares the ground for love, which is impossible without the emptying of oneself brought by humbleness.
Contemporary society starting from a vulgarized psychology understood in a wrong way focus on the fulfillment of the personal needs.
It is disregarded the fact that need doesn`t mean only to receivce but also to know how to offer. This is the meaning of Christ`s word that, although it is not found in the Gospels, it is transmitted by the Acts of the Apostles.
We must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20, 35).
It is intensely sought with tremendous effort the self fulfillment but in a crippled way, permanently focused on our own self. The old ascetics understood that this is a clogged path, lacking openings and which doesn`t lead anywhere. A journey with the head bent down seeking something which can not be found there.
The path therefore is easy to expose, but it requires a lot of effort to change your mind and be able to turn your attention towards the other. God and our neighbour are the source of our accomplishment, this is the recipe consistently applied by the fathers of the desert.