Friday, January 1, 2010

Desert Wisdom

"We must direct our souls with discernment."
~~Amma Syncletica

This is the final Desert Wisdom blog as I have essentially exhausted my resources during the past three years.

Fortunately, books on the wisdom of the desert mothers and fathers abound. I imagine they would all find it wonderfully ironic as it was their goal to possess, like Jesus, as little as possible. Yet, there were still those in their own infinite wisdom that had enough foresight to collect the sayings of these men and women and pass them on.

And Thank God that they did so because over the centuries there have been multitudes who have benefited from the wisdom of our desert fathers and mothers.

In creating this blog, I have depended on half a dozen books or so and continue to add more to my "library."

The books I use include:

The Wisdom of the Desert

The Wisdom of the Desert
by Thomas Merton

Orthodox Prayer Life

Orthodox Prayer Life:
The Interior Way

by Matthew the Poor

The Desert Fathers

The Desert Fathers:
Sayings of the Early Christian Monks

by Benedicta Ward

Desert Father

Desert Father:
A Journey in the Wilderness

with Saint Anthony

by James Cowan

The Forgotten Desert Mothers

The Forgotten Desert Mothers
by Laura Swan

The Desert Mothers

The Desert Mothers:
Spiritual Practices from the Women of the Wilderness

by Mary C. Earle


by Alan Jones

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Laughing at Death

They told the story of a hermit who was dying in Scetis. The brothers stood round his bed, clothed him, and began to weep. But he opened his eyes and began to laugh; this happened three times. So the brothers asked him, "Abba, why are you laughing when we are weeping?"

He told them, "I laughed the first time because you fear death; I laughed the second time because you are not ready for death; I laughed the third time because I am passing from labor to rest, and yet you weep." As he said this, he closed his eyes and died.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Living Example

Hyperichius said, "He who teaches others by his life and not by his speech is truly wise."

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Be Obedient to the Grace of God

A hermit said to a brother, "Do not measure yourself against your brother, saying that you are more serious or more chaste or more understanding than he is. But be obedient to the grace of God, in the spirit of poverty, and in love unfeigned. The efforts of a man swollen with vanity are futile. It is written, 'Let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall' (I Corinthians 10:12); 'let your speech be seasoned with salt' (Colossians 4:6) and so you will be dependent on Christ."

Monday, December 28, 2009

Examine Your Conscience

A hermit said to a brother, "When a proud or a vain thought enters your mind, examine your conscience to see if you are keeping God's commandments; ask yourself if you love your enemies; if you rejoice in your enemy's triumph, and if you are sad at his downfall; do you know yourself to be an unprofitable servant and a sinner beyond all others? But not even then must you think that you have corrected all your faults; to entertain such a thought as that would undo all the other good you have done."

~~Proud Cheetah by Wycliffe Ndwiga

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Disparage Not Your Brother

Hyperichius said, "It is better to eat meat and drink wine than to eat the flesh of the brothers by disparaging them."

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Play the Fool

A hermit said, "When you flee from the company of other people, or when you despise the world and worldlings, take care to do so as if it were you who was being idiotic."