24.10.03

Just a Regular Happy Sand Man


I read a lot. First line in my description. I think a lot, yep, its true. I was reading and thinking today, and I came across three stories I want to share. They are from the sayings of the Desert Fathers, all about a man named Abba Agathon. Historical? who knows, possibly, even probably. Thats not the point though.

It was said of him that, coming to the town one day to sell his wares, he encountered a sick traveller lying in the public place without anyone to look after him. The old man rented a cell and lived with him there, working with his hands to pay the rent and spending the rest of his money on the sick man's needs. He stayed there four months till the sick man was restored to health. Then he returned in peace to his cell.

Going to town one day to sell some small articles, Abba Agathon met a cripple on the roadside, paralysed in his legs, who asked him where he was going. Abba Agathon replied, 'To town, to sell some things.' The other said, 'Do me the favour of carrying me there.' So he carried him to the town. The cripple said to him, 'Put me down where you sell your wares.' He did so. When he had sold an article, the cripple asked, 'What did you sell it for?' and he told him the price. The other said, 'Buy me a cake,' and he bought it. When Abba Agathon had sold a second article, the sick man asked, 'How much did you sell it for?' And he told him the price of it. Then the other said, 'Buy me this,' and he bought it. When Agathon, having sold all his wares, wanted to go, he said to him, 'Are you going back?' and he replied, 'Yes.' Then said he, 'Do me the favor of carrying me back to the place where you found me.' Once more picking him up, he carried him back to that place. Then the cripple said, 'Agathon, you are filled with divine blessings, in heaven and on earth.' Raising his eyes, Agathon saw no man; it was an angel of the Lord, come to try him

Abba Agathon said, 'If I could meet a leper, give him my body and take his, I should be very happy.' That indeed is perfect charity.


Having read these, I started to think about my own life. How unwilling am I to do even one tenth of what Abba Agathon did. Such Charity is not expected, encouraged, or in most cases even thought possible. Yet, in the sayings of the Desert Fathers, Abba Agathon was no one special. He was just a regular happy sand man.

No comments: