A brother asked Abba Matoes: What shall I do? My tongue causes me trouble and whenever I am among people, I cannot control it and I condemn them in all their good deeds and contradict them. What, therefore, shall I do?
The old man answered him: If you cannot control yourself, go away from people and live alone. For this is a weakness – Those who live together with others ought not to be square, but round, in order to turn toward all.
Further, the old man said: I live alone not because of my virtue, but rather because of my weakness. You see, those who live among people are the strong ones.
– From the sayings of the Desert Fathers, from
Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart: Parables of the Spiritual Path from Around the World