Commentary on the reading of the day provided by:
Dorotheus of Gaza (c.500-?), monk in Palestine
Instructions, I, 8 (SC 92, p. 159)
“Come to me”
Let anyone who would find their soul’s true rest learn humility!
Let them understand that all joy, all glory, all rest are to be found in it just as the opposite is to be found in pride.
For how, indeed, is it that we have come to all these tribulations?
Why have we fallen into all this misery?
Isn’t it because of our pride, our foolishness?
Isn’t it because we followed our own evil counsel and were attached to the bitterness of our own wills?
And why so?
Wasn’t man created in perfect equanimity, in complete happiness, rest and glory?
Wasn’t he in Paradise?
He was commanded: Don’t do this, yet he did it.
Do you not note his pride, his arrogance, his insubordination?
“Man is a foolish creature,” said God, when he saw this insolence; “he has no idea how to be happy.
Unless he experiences evil days he will be lost forthwith.
Unless he learns what affliction is, he will never know the meaning of rest.”
And so God gave him what he deserved by driving him out of Paradise…
And yet, as I often say to you, God’s goodness has not failed his creature but keeps turning towards it, calling it back: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
That is to say: See, how weary you are, how unhappy!
You have learned by experience the evil of your disobedience.
Come along then, be converted; come along, recognise your powerlessness and shame so that you can return to the rest and glory that is yours.
Come on, you who were dead from pride: live by humility.
“Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you shall find rest for your souls.”