Monday, February 09, 2009

St Paul the Monk

Day Two: 1.11.2009
St Paul's monastery was great and we were met by Father Thomas, an archtype of holiness. He was soft-spoken, light-hearted, and genuine.

The legend of St Paul goes like this: His parents die and he's left with all the stuff and his brother. Wondering what to do, he heads to church and gets a message that he should leave it all and head
to the desert for a life of prayer and solitude. He does just that and walks into the desert and is led to a cave right near a spring. Everday a bird drops off half a loaf of bread (a reference to Elijah).

St. Antony goes into the desert and thinks he's the first monk. An angel comes to him and leads Antony 4 days across the desert to meet St Paul. that day the raven brings a whole loaf of bread... When Anthony next visited him, Paul was dead. Anthony clothed him in a tunic which was a present from Saint Athanasius and buried him, with two lions helping to dig the grave.

While St Antony is the more popular monk, Father Thomas had a great metaphor. He said that St Antony is like the body of monasticism, you can see it, but St Paul is the heart! You can't see a heart, but you know everyone that is alive has one. Monasticism is alive and St Paul is the heart of it.

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