Abba John’s Office Hours

Monastic Monday
Br. Monday would have forgotten if he had actually been listening…

There was an old man at Scetis, very austere of body, but not very clear in his thoughts. He went to see Abba John to ask him about forgetfulness. Having received a word from him, he returned to his cell and forgot what Abba John had said to him. He went off again to ask him and having heard the same word from him he returned with it. As he got near his cell, he forgot it again. This he did many times; he went there, but while he was returning he was overcome by forgetfulness. Later, meeting the old man he said to him, “Do you know, abba, that I have forgotten again what you said to me? But I did not want to overburden you, so I did not come back.” Abba John said to him, “Go and light a lamp.” He lit is. He said to him, “Bring some more lamps, and light them from the first.” He did so. Then Abba John said to the old man, “Has that lamp suffered any loss from the fact that other lamps have been lit from it?” He said, “No.” The old man continued, “So it is with John…”

Source: Apophthegmata Patrum

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