Be enriched with God’s word in simplicity – Abba Sisoes

Abba Ammoun of Rhaithou asked Abba Sisoes, “When I read the Scriptures, my mind is wholly concentrated on the words so that I may make elaborate comments and so to prepare myself to answer questions on it.” The old man said to him, “That is not necessary; it is better to enrich yourself through purity of spirit and to be without anxiety and then to speak simply.” [Apophthegmata Patrum]

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Choose the humility of the Publican – Amma Syncletica

Amma Syncletica said: “Imitate the Publican and you will not be condemned with the Pharisee. Choose the meekness of Moses and you will find your heart which is a rock changed into a spring of water.” [Paradise of the Fathers]

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Take care of your heart – Abba Poemen and Augustine of Hippo

“Do not give your heart to that which does not satisfy your heart.” [Abba Poemen, Paradise of the Fathers]

“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” [Augustine of Hippo, Confessions]

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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]