A lesson on steadfastness, from Abba Moses and Abba Isidore

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And whilst fasting often, and during the time of prayer and silent contemplation, that devil of error, who bringeth back to the remembrance of the mind the wickedness of former habits, would come to him, and tempt him to such a degree that, even as he himself hath told us, it wanted exceedingly little to make him fall from his covenant.

And having come to the old man Isidore the great, who had arrived from Scete, Moses told him concerning the war of his body; and the old man said unto him,

“Be not distressed, for these are the beginning of the birth pangs, and they come upon thee seeking what they are accustomed to receive, even as a dog which cometh continually to the cook, and if a man give him nothing he will not go there again. And thus also it is with thee, for if thou wilt continue in fasting, and in prayer, and in silent contemplation, the devil will straightaway fall into despair and will flee from thee.”

[Excerpt from Chapter X, Of Abba Moses the Indian, [a Captain] of Thieves, Book ii, The Paradise of Palladius, The Paradise of the Holy Fathers, E.A Wallis Budge]

 

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