Today we read about self importance and how the fathers considered it to be the generator of all other passions.
V.x.8. Abba Peter, a disciple of abba Lot, told how once he was in the cell of abba Agathon when a brother came in and said, “I would like to go and live in community, but tell me how I should order my life among them.”
And the old man said, “From the first day that you go in among them, keep quiet about the details of your pilgrimage all the days of your life, and don’t be full of your own importance.”
“What are the effects of self-importance?” asked abba Macarius.
“It’s like a heat-wave which when in full flow causes everyone to flee. It will even destroy the fruit on the tree.”
“And self- importance is like that?” asked Macarius.
“There is no other passion worse,” said abba Agathon. “It is the generator of all other passions, and a monk had better not take self-importance upon himself, or let him sit alone in his cell.”
From: DE VITIS PATRUM, BOOK V, Libellus 10:Discretion