Born in Cappadocia (modern-day Turkey), Sabas is one of the most highly regarded patriarchs among the monks of Palestine, and is considered one of the founders of Eastern monasticism.
After an unhappy childhood in which he was abused and ran away several times, Sabas finally sought refuge in a monastery. While family members tried to persuade him to return home, the young boy felt drawn to monastic life. Although the youngest monk in the house, he excelled in virtue.
At age 18 he traveled to Jerusalem, seeking to learn more about living in solitude. Soon he asked to be accepted as a disciple of a well-known local solitary, though initially he was regarded as too young to live completely as a hermit. Initially, Sabas lived in a monastery, where he worked during the day and spent much of the night in prayer. At the age of 30 he was given permission to spend five days each week in a nearby remote cave, engaging in prayer and manual labor in the form of weaving baskets. Following the death of his mentor, St. Euthymius, Sabas moved farther into the desert near Jericho. There he lived for several years in a cave near the brook Cedron. A rope was his means of access. Wild herbs among the rocks were his food. Occasionally men brought him other food and items, while he had to go a distance for his water.
Some of these men came to him desiring to join him in his solitude. At first he refused. But not long after relenting, his followers swelled to more than 150, all of them living in individual huts grouped around a church, called a laura.
The bishop persuaded a reluctant Sabas, then in his early 50s, to prepare for the priesthood so that he could better serve his monastic community in leadership. While functioning as abbot among a large community of monks, he felt ever called to live the life of a hermit. Throughout each year--consistently in Lent--he left his monks for long periods of time, often to their distress. A group of 60 men left the monastery, settling at a nearby ruined facility. When Sabas learned of the difficulties they were facing, he generously gave them supplies and assisted in the repair of their church.
Over the years Sabas traveled throughout Palestine, preaching the true faith and successfully bringing back many to the Church. At the age of 91, in response to a plea from the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Sabas undertook a journey to Constantinople in conjunction with the Samaritan revolt and its violent repression. He fell ill and soon after his return, died at the monastery at Mar Saba. Today the monastery is still inhabited by monks of the Eastern Orthodox Church, and St. Sabas is regarded as one of the most noteworthy figures of early monasticism.
Few of us share Sabas's yearning for a cave in the desert, but most of us sometimes resent the demands others place on our time. Sabas understands that. When at last he gained the solitude for which he yearned, a community immediately began to gather around him and he was forced into a leadership role. He stands as a model of patient generosity for anyone whose time and energy are required by others—that is, for all of us.
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
I pause for a moment and think of the love and the grace that God showers on me, creating me in his image and likeness, making me his temple....
If God were trying to tell me something, would I know?
How do I find myself today?
The Word of God
Reading 1IS 29:17-24
Thus says the Lord GOD:
Responsorial Psalm PS 27:1, 4, 13-14
R. (1a) The Lord is my light and my salvation.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel MT 9:27-31
As Jesus passed by, two blind men followed him, crying out,
Conversation requires talking and listening. As I talk to Jesus may I also learn to be still and listen. I picture the gentleness in His eyes and the smile full of love as he gazes on me. I can be totally honest with Jesus as I tell Him of my worries and my cares. I will open up my heart to Him as I tell Him of my fears and my doubts. I will ask Him to help me to place myself fully in His care, to abandon myself to Him, knowing that He always wants what is best for me.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
Meditation: Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14
1st Week of Advent
The Lord is my light and my salvation. (Psalm 27:1)
Light overcoming darkness is a major Advent theme. Fittingly, Christmas falls shortly after the day with the most hours of darkness. By the time Christmas comes around, the light is gradually increasing.
We all experience darkness in our lives, both within us and around us. The effects of violence and hatred splash across our television screens every day. In our neighborhoods and homes, misunderstanding causes alienation and isolation. Even in our Church, shadowy pockets persist, dimming the light of our witness to Christian purity and joy.
In today's Gospel reading, Jesus hears the cry of two blind men, but he delays his response until they are in the best place to receive his healing touch. In the privacy of a house, he gives them the opportunity to proclaim their faith; then he touches and heals them.
It takes time for your eyes to adjust when you move from a darkened room into the bright sunshine. Surely it took these men a few minutes to get used to their new vision and to make sense of what they were seeing. And so Jesus stayed with them and helped them adjust to their new lives. He warned them, too, not to speak too soon about what had happened to them. They needed to see their situation more clearly first.
Advent can be a time of enlightenment for us, too. But our growth in understanding is likely to be as gradual as it was for these men. Perhaps we notice that a word or an image keeps showing up in the Mass readings: renewal, freedom, repentance, restoration. As we ponder that image, it can shed light on who Jesus is and on who he has called us to become.
When such light begins to dawn, turn toward it as much as you can, but don't be surprised if the results aren't instantaneous. Jesus has come into your world. That may change everything, but you still have to give his life time to grow and take root in you. How good it is to know, then, that Jesus will stay with you always, teaching you and helping you to adjust to the light!
"Jesus, you light up my world. Open the eyes of my heart as I inch closer to you."
I went out into the dark last night to see why our water pressure wasn't working in the house. The only light I had was that one on the phone. I made my way outside to the backyard to the water softener. I shown the light and as I moved spider webs to shut a valve to clean filters I spotted something...another rattlesnake. So what would've happened if I didn't have this little light? What if the snake (representing evil) wouldn't have been spotted? Well, if I got my hand down further I could've got a venemous bite. Or, it could be left there to grow and hurt a child later. I was aggrevated while I tried to get it out. Why? Because I try very hard to keep snakes out, I cover holes in the fence, I designed the place with heavy concrete and blocks, and put hard rubber flaps under the gates for this exact thing not to happen, yet it did. This morning I was dealing with some workers, and one came up that suddenly caused me to say in a mean way "you don't care what I say", I will spare you the poop word I interjected, after doing what his job was for him again. I try very hard for this exact thing not to happen, yet it did, much like the snake was where I tried to keep it out. How does this happen? Various ways. What we thought was covered is not. A mouse or critters dig their way through and make holes and snakes follow. Those rodents are those little bitty annoying things that accumulate, make a hole, a way through for a snake to come through, and then walaahhh, you have evil coming inside, and even growing if you do not have a light. Now comes the light. Today's 1st Holy Scripture says the deaf will hear the word of the Lord. What was barren land will be fruitful, the prophecies came true. The Psalm says "I believe I shall see the bounty of the Lord in the land of the living", and "The Lord is My Light, and my Salvation." The light saves. Jesus saves. The end of the 1st reading said "Those who err in spirit shall acquire understanding, and those who find fault shall receive instruction." I was in error by losing my cool, but I acquired understanding, I realized I had seen a snake. So I went to apologize for speaking in such a manner to the worker "I am sorry for saying what I did, it was el diablo". Sometimes it is not the devil, but in this instance I could tell pretty good that in that room there was an evil little devil, for in the same room there was another new worker that had just cursed up a storm a few days earlier to the same guy I wound up doing to. Evil spirits are out there but you will not see them without the light...Jesus.
In today's Gospel, Jesus offers the light of sight. I can see beyond the flesh and see children of God. I can see when an evil spirit is lurking and we have to remove. What will it take to remove? Make amends. Repent and sin no more. See that you tell no one what I just said here. I have to tell you what I see so that you might believe though.
Another message...you are learning, learn more, let your hunger be satisfied. Last night my little curly headed 3 year old girl said "my heart is hungry". She had come in to say something that Jesus said and then she said that. Who knows what she was trying to say but I thought those words were meaningful, my heart is hungry. I said "it is hungry for Jesus". Only He will make you full. Full of joy, compassion, the love of the light.
You will see greater things than this and do greater things once Jesus is all you see in your life.
Thank You Master, I Love You