Let us do our duty to God first – Abba Hilarion the Anchorite

Image[St. Jerome writes of the great ascetic father, Abba Hilarion the Anchorite, whose feast is today in the Coptic tradition, his prayers be with us.]

Once when they were being entertained by another monk whose name was Sabus (we must not of course give the name of the niggard, we may tell that of this generous man), because it was the Lord’s day, they were all invited by him into the vineyard so that before the hour for food came they might relieve the toil of the journey by a repast of grapes. Said the saint, “Cursed be he who looks for the refreshment of the body before that of the soul. Let us pray, let us sing, let us do our duty to God, and then we will hasten to the vineyard.” When the service was over, he stood on an eminence and blessed the vineyard and let his own sheep go to their pasture. Now those who partook were not less than three thousand. And whereas the whole vineyard had been estimated at a hundred flagons, within thirty days he made it worth three hundred.

[St. Jerome, The Life of S. Hilarion]