A provincial priest went to visit an anchorite to offer the Eucharist for him. Now someone went to the anchorite and spoke against the priest, so when the latter came according to custom to give him communion, the anchorite, who had been shocked, did not let him in, and the priest went away. Then, behold, a voice came to the anchorite, saying, “Men have taken jugdment away from me.” The anchorite was as though in ecstasy, and he saw a well of gold and a rope of gold and a jug of gold and much water of surpassing quality. Then he saw a leper draw the water and pour it out, and he would gladly have drunk but could not because he who drew the water was leprous. Again a voice came to him saying, “Why do you not drink the water? What does it matter if he who draws it is leperous? he only draws it and pours it out.” Returning to himself and perceiving the meaning of the vision, the anchorite sent for the priest and let him give him communion as usual.
One of the Fathers said, “If a hard-working monk lives in a place where there are no other hard-working monks, he cannot make progress: he can only struggle so as not to get worse; but if a lazy monk dwells with hard-working monks, he makes progress if he is vigilant, and if not he does not get any worse.”
An old man was asked, “What is the straight and narrow way?” He replied, “The straight way is this, to do violence to one’s thoughts and to cut off one’s own will. That is what this means: “Behold we have left all and followed thee.” (Mark 10:28)
A brother who had withdrawn and taken the habit shut himself up immediately, saying, “I am an anchorite.’ When they heard him say this, the old men came to drive him away and made him go the round of all the brethern’s cells, bowing before them and saying, “forgive me, for I am not an anchorite, but a beginner.”
An old man said, “The prophets wrote books, then came our Fathers who put them into practice. Those who came after them learnt them by heart. Then came the present generation, who have written them out and put them into their window seats without using them.”