One day, St. Pachomius (the founder of Communal Monasticism) set out on a trip with some of the monks. Each monk carried with himself his share of bread for the journey. When the Saint went to pick up his share, one of the young monks said, “Father, God forbid that you carry anything. I’ve carried my share as well as yours.”
The Saint however replied, “No, I’ll carry my own.”
The monk persisted, “But you’re our father and you watch over us day and night. Please let me carry your bread.”
Notwithstanding, the Saint insisted that no one carries his bread, since the leader should not only make himself equal to his brothers, but he should also serve them and bear their burdens.
St. Pachomius furthermore said, “Since it was written of the Lord that it was fit for Him to be like His brothers in all respects, how can a humble person like me distinguish himself from his brothers and not carry like them?”
Finally, the Saint quoted from Christ’s teachings,
“Whoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant” (Matt. 20.27).
What shall I give You in return, O Bearer of the sins of the world?
You have borne my burdens, those which no one but You can bear.
Teach me to be like You,
And to bear my brethren’s burdens.
Grant me not to distinguish myself from my brothers,
But to yearn to minister unto them,
And to be a servant to them with You.
A Feast of Love: Changing the
Course of History