Life has been busy, so just a saying without commentary today:
An old man was asked by a brother: “How do I find God? With fasts, or labour, or watchings, or works of mercy?” The old man replied: “In all that you have said, and in discretion. I tell you that many have afflicted their body, but have gained no profit because they did it without discretion. Even if our mouths stink with fasting, and we have learnt all the Scriptures, and memorized the whole Psalter, we still lack what God wants: humility and charity.”
~ Sayings of the Desert Fathers, 10.91
Okay, a little commentary: Apparently this old man would disagree with John Lennon. Love (charity) isn’t all you need, or at least you can’t have it alone. We also need humility. And the more I read the fathers, the more I think that it is impossible to have true charity without humility. Love may be a fruit of the Spirit, but humility is the root without which that fruit could not have grown.
This, at least, has been my experience. And it explains why I so often find that I am worse at love in practice than I imagine myself to be.