To those who love idleness it says, in effect: ‘If anyone refuses to work, he should have nothing to eat’
(2 Thess. 3:10)
St. John of Karpathos
For the Encouragement of the Monks in India who had written him
One Hundred Texts
The PhilokaliaVolume 1
In my previous parish, there was a woman by the name of Sarah who fought cancer for most of her later years. She always seemed to have a humble and optimistic outlook on life. She did not allow her life to be defined by her illness or by the limitations she developed as her disease progressed. One day things turned for the worse and she was approaching her final moments on earth. In those final moments of lucidity, she asked for the DOK prayer list, so that she could pray for those in need. After she finished praying she closed her eyes and a few short hours later she reposed in the Lord. This is a powerful example of what the contemplative tradition teaches us about listlessness. St. John of Karpathos quotes 2 Thessalonians as a way of connecting what we do in the Divine Liturgy, Holy Eucharist, to the rest of our life. We fall victim to idleness when we choose not to use our gifts and talents for the betterment of the kingdom. Everyone has some capacity to share the gifts God has given them with the world. Sarah knew her limitations, but she pushed herself all the way to the end because of the nourishment and grace God continually gave to her. Let’s look this Easter season at our life and how we spend our time. Are we stretching ourselves for the sake of the Gospel? Or are we idle in our relationship with God and with each other? This is the hard work of our discipleship and spirituality, but perhaps the most fulfilling part.