After nearly 2 3/4 years we finally came to the final few paragraphs of Cassian's last Conference (24) on Mortification - and O how fitting and beautiful a conclusion!
Cassian and Germanus had been questioning Abba Abraham about the possibility of returning to their homeland and living under the support of their relatives. After he reveals the subtle illusions hidden behind their desires, Germanus presses Abba Abraham for a "complete" explanation of the Lord's teaching:
The Lord tells us, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light." Yet, often the prophets express that the opposite to be true. Such a view, Abba Abraham explains, arises out of obstinacy, lack of confidence and faith; as in some sense does Germanus' question.
Remaining in our passions, the delights of the flesh turn upon us like tormentors. When we abandon the royal road, we make living the Gospel burdensome; whereas for those who take up fully and in true faith the yoke of Christ remain unmoved by every trial.
Our ruin is clinging to delight in this present life and our tendency to blame God because we are crooked and perverse. It is not the lazy, the negligent, the lax, the fastidious or the weak who seize the kingdom of heaven but rather the violent - those who exercise a noble violence upon their own soul and who snatch it away from the fleeting pleasures of this life.
Only life in Christ brings with it the strength, virtue and hope of Christ and makes it our own!
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