Saint Stephen of Mar Saba (d.794)

for March 31

Saint Stephen of Mar Saba was introduced to the monastic lifestyle at age 10 by his uncle, Saint John Damascene. When he turned 24, Stephen began to serve the monastery by doing a number of jobs. After a time, he wished to leave the monastery to pursue life as a hermit. When he asked the abbot's permission, he received a mixed answer. He was allowed to live as a hermit for five days of the week, but was expected to act as a counselor on the weekends, due to his exceptional people-skills. Accepting these terms, Stephen shut himself in his cell during the week with a sign on the door reading, "Forgive me, Fathers, in the name of the Lord, but please do not disturb me except on Saturdays and Sundays." Even though he would have preferred to live in solitary prayer every day, Saint Stephen of Mar Saba kindly met with those seeking his counsel, and was a trusted spiritual advisor.

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Saint Stephen is known for his unique virtues and his devotion to God. He is also known for his ability to compromise. What he most wanted was to live in complete and uninterrupted solitude. He was not granted his wish. Consequently, he gladly chose to accept a lifestyle mixed with both his wishes and those of others. We too rarely get exactly what we want from life. It is important for us to remember that compromise is an important Christian virtue.


Dear God, please help me to recognize times when I should compromise and to willingly and happily accept the compromises asked of me.