Basket Full of Holes

     A brother in Scete happened to commit a fault, and the elders assembled, and sent for Abbot Moses to join them.  He, however, did not want to come.  The priest sent him a message, saying: Come, the community of the brethren is waiting for you.  So he arose and started off.  And taking with him a very old basket full of holes, he filled it with sand, and carried it behind him.  The elders came out to meet him, and said: What is this, Father?  The elder replied: My sins are running out behind me, and I do not see them, and today I come to judge the sins of another!  They, hearing this, said nothing to the brother but pardoned him.

     One of the elders was asked what was humility, and he said: If you forgive a brother who has injured you before he asks pardon.


– Thomas Merton, The Wisdom of the Desert: Sayings from the Desert Fathers of the Fourth Century