From The Sayings of the Desert Fathers:
Abba Anthony said, “Whoever hammers a lump of iron, first decides what he is going to make of it: a scythe, a sword, or an axe. Even so, we ought to make up our minds what kind of virtue we want to forge or we labor in vain.”
This “saying” reminded me that, once upon a time, I had asked my spiritual director how one might go about practicing a particular virtue. He gave me a short, step-by-step approach which I jotted down on a little piece of scratch paper.
Well…I cannot find that little piece of paper, though I know I had kept it in a certain place for a long time. I have looked everywhere I can think of to look. It is nowhere to be found.
I suppose if I’d actually put the steps into practice, I wouldn’t need to find the piece of paper. It would be part of my routine, and I would probably have developed at least a couple of virtues by now. And I could share the steps with you right now.
One problem I had was that I couldn’t decide upon a virtue to practice – and I do recall that that was the first step!
Hmm. I think I have a long, long way to go!