The beauty of the Apophthegmata, the “sayings of the desert Fathers,” is that they contain a pure form of Christianity that is accessible to all. I dedicate this to a priest I know who has dedicated his priesthood to serving the sick and dying, and in doing so has cultivated one of the most compassionate hearts I’ve ever encountered.
A brother said to the old monk:
“There are two brothers. One of them stays in his cell quietly, fasting for six days at a time, and imposing on himself a good deal of discipline, and the other serves the sick. Which one of them is more acceptable to God?”
The old man replied: “Even if the brother who fasts six days were to hang himself up by the nose, he could not equal the one who serves the sick. The more excellent way is the way of the new commandment, to love one another.”
This song about St. Paul has always captured in my mind the beauty of this priest (start at ~minute 1:10):