Cassian and Germanus find themselves struggling, as it were, with a seemingly no win situation. No matter what decision they make they will experience loss on a spiritual level. They had made a rash promise when coming to Egypt. They had promised their superiors that they would return quickly. However, they have found that simply hearing the teachings of the elders was insufficient; they must live the discipline of the desert for a much longer period of time in order to have their hearts formed and purged of the slackness that lies within. To return now would not only make it impossible for them to communicate the wisdom of the desert fully but also place them both in jeopardy on a spiritual level. Once have let the inspiration to pursue the perfection of the desert monasticism pass they would experience enormous spiritual loss. However, to remain now would be to set aside a promise they had made to their superiors. Abba Joseph seeks to guide them through this situation realizing that they had acted rashly and without discernment. One must never promise anything quickly. The question now, however, is where can the inevitable damage they will experience be made more tolerable and compensated for by the remedy of reparation. They must humbly assume the damage caused by their sin but remain along the path where their lack of discernment and purity of heart will be addressed in order that they same mistake not be made again. What hospital do you go to depending on your infirmity? Where will the deepest and most lasting healing take place?
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