December 5: St. Sabas
Sabas, born in 439, is one of the most famous monks of Palestine. His father was an officer in the army. When the officer had to go to Alexandria, Egypt, he left his young son with his brother-in-law. Since his aunt treated him badly, young Sabas ran away to another uncle. When an argument arose between the two uncles, Sabas felt terrible. He liked to see people at peace. So he ran away to live in a monastery. His two uncles felt ashamed of themselves. They told Sabas to come out and they would give him all his property. But by this time, Sabas was too happy in the monastery. He did not want to leave. Even though he was the youngest monk, he was the most fervent.
When he was eighteen, Sabas went to Jerusalem. He wanted to learn to live alone with God. He was advised to live in another monastery there for a while because he was still young. He obeyed and joyfully did all the hard work. He chopped wood for the fires and carried the heavy jugs of water. One day, St. Sabas was sent to Alexandria, Egypt, as the traveling companion of another monk. There he saw his father and mother! They tried their best to make him come with them. They wanted him to enjoy the same honors his father had won. Not Sabas! He would not even take the money they tried to give him. Finally he accepted three gold pieces. Then when he got back to the monastery, he gave them to the abbot.
At last, he was able to spend four years completely alone, as he desired. But after that, he had to start a new monastery. Many disciples came to him to learn how to be monks. Before long, he was put in charge of all the monks in Palestine.
Sometimes Sabas was sent to the emperor on important Church affairs. Even then, he wore his poor cloth habit, and kept to his hours of prayer. St. Sabas died in 532.
Although at times there was turmoil in Sabas' family, he learned to put his trust in God's care for him. In moments of uncertainty and confusion, God's grace sustained him.