On the subject of Discernment

A brother said to a great old man, “Abba, I wan to find an old man to my liking and die with him.” And the old man said to him, “My lord, much good may your search do you!” But the brother was profoundly convinced that it really was good, and did not ponder the old man’s saying. When the old man saw that he thought he was really looking for something good, he said to him, “if you find an old man after your own mind,will you stay with him?” The other said, “Yes, altogether, if I find him to my liking.” The old man said to him, “perhaps it is not that you will follow the old man’s will, but that he will follow yours, that will give you peace?” The the brother arose, realizing what he said, bowed before him and said, “Forgive me, I was conceited thinking I had said something good when it was actually nothing.”

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