Posted by: jamesthethickheaded | February 11, 2010

Met. Anthony on Zealotry for Heaven

“…having decided to become a monk, I began to prepare for this. I prayed, I fasted, and with this in view I made all possible mistakes. …I fasted to exhaustion, I prayed till I drove everybody mad at home, and so on. It usually happens that when somebody in the house wants to clamber up into heaven, the other inhabitants become saints because everyone has to have patience with him, to resign themselves to the situation, and to bear everything that the zealot does. I remember once I was praying in my room in the most heightened spiritual state and my grandmother opened the door and said, ‘The carrots need peeling!’ I jumped up and said, ‘Granny, can’t you see that I am praying?’ And she replied, ‘I thought that praying was being in touch with God and learning to love. Here are the carrots and the knife.'”

Probably fair to say that Granny wasn’t too impressed, or at least that she was pretty convinced if you REALLY were going to be a saint, you could probably learn to pray, love, AND peel carrots at the same time. Then again, maybe she knew the DNA didn’t follow that strain too well, and you might as well get busy dodging thunderbolts by looking busy with the carrots and peeler. Lots of possibilities. I’d say all of us who’ve started down this road in one capacity or another have explored a bit of these ourselves, and reached out to give our own “personal reminder” of our humanity a hand.

But I like the bit about clambering up to heaven. There’s a friend of ours whose great aunt was officially added to the list of “waiting to be canonized” American saints in the Roman Catholic church some years back. We thought that was pretty cool. But her mom always said the true saints were her sisters and mother who had to put up with her. Apparently, Metropolitan Anthony isn’t barking up a particularly new tree here.


  1. Awesome!! The only thing worse than “zeal without knowledge” is zeal without a clue. 🙂

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