A few words in the presence of fellow monks.
Truly, when I think about the fathers of old, I become like one who has not known God. And is it any wonder? For our father Abraham, our father Isaac, our father Jacob, they live with their wives, they begat their children, they take wives for their sons, they give their daughters to husbands, they hold their marriage feasts, and when their children are weaned, they host great receptions. As it is written, “Abraham gave a great feast on the day that his son Isaac was weaned.” They celebrate, they eat, they drink in the righteous amount. They have many animals of all kinds. Gold is abundant. Silver is abundant. All their possessions of every kind of wealth abound. And the Lord God speaks with them, instructing them about everything. And he nourishes them. Their “houses are full of every good.” And also his angels guard them, as Jacob said, “God who nourishes me from my youth, the angel who guards me from every evil.” And not only (have I become like one who has not known God) because many have received blessing from them upon the earth, and their seed left as heirs multitudes of people, like the sand, but also (because of) those who go to God, as the scripture says about all those who die among us, we Christians, from king to priest, as far as even the martyrs who have poured out their blood, “You shall give rest to them in the bosom of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.”
How are these honors and these glories of this quality theirs? Is it not because of their faith and their love for the Lord God, and their sinlessness? As the Lord said to them, “Be pleasing before me and be without sin, and I will establish my covenant with you.” And furthermore (because of) their hospitality. Or do we not read about their whole way of life?
But we, such wretches, we make ourselves poor, we are hungry, we are thirsty, we endure many hardships, while saying that we do them for God, even as far as inferior clothes and sustenance, so that we often do not drink water to satiety, nor (do we partake of) wine or meat or many other things. Our heart is dry. Our bellies are dry.