Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


The sacrificial life

There is an old story about a hermit who mentors a young disciple. At a certain point in their relationship the older monk believes his protégé is capable of living the sacrificial life on his own.

Initially the young hermit lives in a lean-to near a river. Each night he washes and puts out his only possession, a loincloth, to dry. One morning he wakes to find the cloth wripped to shreds by rats. He goes to the village to find a replacement, which they give him. In addition he gets a cat to keep the rats from destroying the second cloth.

Herman Hesse and his catNow the hermit has to beg for milk for the cat in addition to food for himself. To get around this dilemma the young hermit purchases a cow. Because the cow must be fed he comes to the conclusion that a portion of his time would be best spent growing crops to feed the cow.

Eventually he abandons his prayers and meditations altogether and concentrates on expanding his farming interests. He hires laborers, builds a house and a barn to protect the fruits of his effort and pretty soon he becomes one of the wealthiest people in the village.

Several years pass by and the older hermit returns to check on the well-being and spiritual progress of his disciple. The master is confronted with a mansion where there was once a lean-to. When asked why he was living in such style the disciple replies, "Holy Father, there was no other way to protect my loincloth."

—this version of the story is taken from Spiritus Galdius, the weekly news letter of the Parish of Saint Paul the Apostle in Savannah.

A note on the photo: The story reminded me somewhat of Hermann Hesse's book Siddhartha and so I illustrated it with a photo of Hermann Hesse and his cat.


Post a Comment

<< Home