I am looking for a particular quotation that I believe comes from the desert fathers. I searched the Philokalia but didn't find it. I don't think it was from there anyway, but I looked.

In the story, the father asks a person with no goals to shoot an arrow into the desert. Since he has no target, it doesn't matter where he shoots. A person without a goal is like an archer without a target. Anyone know either where it came from or how I might search for it?

  • I searched my Kindle editions of the Penguin version of the Desert Fathers and the Philokalia and I can't find anything like this. I also searched in Athanasius Life of St. Antony and through The Ladder of Divine Ascent: it's not there either. I have a 4-volume set of the Evergetinos, but I can't search it electronically. – guest37 Feb 15 '18 at 20:06
  • Thanks. Maybe I am remembering the wrong set of fathers. – Dave Harris Feb 15 '18 at 20:31

There are such stories prevalent in all societies . If the desert fathers said the archer's story, they would have possibily borrowed it from somewhere else. One such story , not copyrighed , from my home-land speaks of a farmer who has a lot of agricultural land, but has five prodigal sons who are as lazy as laziness can be. The yield from his land slowly depletes for lack of maintenance. On his death-bed, the father calls all his sons near and tells them that he had hidden a large pot containing solid gold, somewhere in his field, but has since forgotten the location. The old man dies, and thereafter the sons start digging and ploughing the entire land in search of the gold, and find nothing. But slowly they realise that the gold which their father intended was the better yield they would get from purpose of life and hard work.

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