Mother Syncletica on the Publican & Pharisee

Mother Syncletica, a desert mother, said: “Imitate the publican, and you will not be condemned with the Pharisee.  Choose the meekness of Moses and you will find your heart which is a rock changed into a spring of water.”  (THE SAYINGS OF THE DESERT FATHERS,  p 233)

Fr Alexander Men writes:

“Whoever believes in Christ is saved.  Whoever calls on the name of Jesus and follows the Lord is saved.  But to be saved, you must begin to follow Him.  And in order to follow Him, we have to see that we are unworthy, that we cannot save ourselves and that first we must repent.  We must take a truthful and honest look at ourselves.  That’s why we pray in the great canticle: ‘Open unto me, O Give of Life, the gates of Repentance’, for we are already used to things as they are, and the gates of repentance are closed to us.  We think we are living normally, like everyone else, and sometimes, like the Pharisee in the parable, we take pride in ourselves and put on airs before others.  But what do we have to be proud of? 

Today, in the Gospel reading, the Church bids us: ‘Arise, like the tax collector, without thinking about your merits, your power or your good works.  Just get up and repeat, as he did: ‘Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner.'”  (AWAKE TO LIFE!, pp 4-5)

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