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A brother asked Abba Poeman, ‘Some brothers live with me; do you want me to be in charge of them?’

The old man said ‘No, just work first and foremost, and if they want to live like you, they will see to it themselves.’

The brother said ‘But it is they themselves, Abba, who want me to be in charge of them.’

The old man said to him ‘No, be their example, not their legislator.’

Amen!

from “Becoming Fire; through the year with the Desert Fathers and Mothers” Edited by Tim Vivian

 

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