It's been making me think about the boundaries I set up in my own life, and the ways in which I sometimes let them be breached. After far too many working evenings and weekends, I'm feeling like St. Anthony's bow:
A hunter in the desert saw Abba Anthony enjoying himself with the brethren and he was shocked. Wanting to show him that it was necessary sometimes to meet the needs of the brethren, the old man said to him,
"Put an arrow in your bow and shoot it."
So he did. The old man then said,
and he did so. Then the old man said,
"Shoot yet again,"
and the hunter replied,
"If I bend my bow so much I will break it."
Then the old man said to him,
"It is the same with the work of God. If we stretch the brethren beyond measure they will soon break. Sometimes it is necessary to come down to meet their needs."
When he heard these words the hunter was pierced by compunction and, greatly edified by the old man, he went away. As for the brethren, they went home strengthened.
Could I find a way to stop pulling on the modern day equivalent of the bow - my work email - and meet some of my needs (like laundry!)? So I set up a virtual cloister for my college email on my computers, a physical separation between the incoming arrows and the generally life-giving correspondence from the other corners of my life. I suspended the app that checks my work mail on my iPad. Will I, like the brethren, be strengthened? Let us pray...