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Saints' Discussion Forums  |  Forums  |  Saints' & Spiritual Life General Discussion  |  Topic: Quotes from the Desert Fathers 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Quotes from the Desert Fathers  (Read 63610 times)
odhiambo
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« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2013, 11:23:41 AM »

Wise sayings indeed; reminds me of the Book of Proverbs  Smiley
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Inspirational Quotes from the saints:
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« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2013, 02:18:50 PM »

I never thought of that, you're right!
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'Flores apparuerunt in terra nostra. . . Fulcite me floribus. (The flowers appear on the earth. . . stay me up with flowers. Sg 2:12,5)
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« Reply #18 on: May 12, 2013, 03:06:44 PM »

An Elder said: "Children, believe me when I tell you that however great the praise and glory that belong to a king who abandons his kingdom and becomes a monk, as great is the shame for a monk who spurns the monastic schema and becomes a king; and this because noetic things are incomparably more precious than sensible things.'

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'Flores apparuerunt in terra nostra. . . Fulcite me floribus. (The flowers appear on the earth. . . stay me up with flowers. Sg 2:12,5)
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« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2013, 11:56:51 PM »

Abba Anthony, musing upon the depths of the judgements of God with awe, besought God to expound on some of his queries.

"Lord," he said, "why do some die at a young age, and others in deep old age? Why are some poor and others rich? Why are the unjust rich and happy, whereas the just hunger and suffer?"

A voice then came to him, saying:

"Anthony, watch yourself; for such things are the impenetrable judgements of God and it is not to your spiritual advantage to preoccupy yourself therewith."

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'Flores apparuerunt in terra nostra. . . Fulcite me floribus. (The flowers appear on the earth. . . stay me up with flowers. Sg 2:12,5)
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« Reply #20 on: May 25, 2013, 07:10:48 PM »

A discerning ascetic Elder, while advising a brother said to him:

"The Devil is the enemy and your soul is the abode he seeks to defile. The Enemy, then, does not cease throwing within the abode of your soul whatever he can come up with, littering it with every sort of filth. But you are responsible if you grow negligent and do not throw out the filth littered in your soul by the Devil. If you do not immediately attend to accomplishing this work of cleansing, then the inner abode of your soul will be filled with every kind of filth and no one will be able to enter and abide therein, on account of the unbearable stench. If, however, you straightaway resolve to take out the first batch of filth the Devil throws in, then God, rewarding your intention, will preserve the inner abode of your soul in cleanliness by His Grace."

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'Flores apparuerunt in terra nostra. . . Fulcite me floribus. (The flowers appear on the earth. . . stay me up with flowers. Sg 2:12,5)
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« Reply #21 on: May 25, 2013, 07:13:01 PM »

The last extract makes me think, Woe to he that aids the Devil in his work, rather than opposing it, who opens the windows to the garbage thrower, or seeks it out and brings it in too himself, rather than cleans the house of the soul.
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'Flores apparuerunt in terra nostra. . . Fulcite me floribus. (The flowers appear on the earth. . . stay me up with flowers. Sg 2:12,5)
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« Reply #22 on: May 26, 2013, 04:17:57 PM »

'Germanos then asked: "How does it happen that even against our will many ideas and wicked thoughts trouble us, entering by stealth and undetected to steal our attention? Not only are we unable to prevent them from entering, but it is extremely difficult even to recognize them. Is it possible for the mind to be completely free of them and not be troubled by them at all?"

Abba Moses replied: "It is impossible for the mind not to be troubled by these thoughts. But if we exert ourselves it is within our power either to accept them and give them our attention, or to expel them. Their coming is not within our power to control, but their expulsion is. The amending of our mind is also within the power of our choice and effort. When we meditate wisely and: continually on the law of God, study psalms and canticles, engage-in fasting and vigils, and always bear in mind what is to come -- the kingdom of heaven, the Gehenna of fire and all God's works -- our wicked thoughts diminish and find no place. But when we devote our time to worldly concerns and to matters of the flesh, to pointless and useless conversation, then these base thoughts multiply in us.

Just as it is impossible to stop a watermill from turning, although the miller has power to choose between grinding either wheat or tares, so it is impossible to stop our mind, which is ever-moving, from having thoughts, although it is within our power to feed it either with spiritual meditation or with worldly concerns."'

St. John Cassian
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'Flores apparuerunt in terra nostra. . . Fulcite me floribus. (The flowers appear on the earth. . . stay me up with flowers. Sg 2:12,5)
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« Reply #23 on: May 29, 2013, 12:24:07 AM »

The ancient ascetic Fathers were wont to recount the following incident:

"On the mountain of Abba Anthony, seven monks lived in asceticism. When the palm trees were ripe with fruit, ready for harvesting, the Fathers would take turns guarding them, in order to drive away the birds, until the had collected the fruit. Since the brothers were seven in number, they would each stand guard one day a week. When it was the eldest brother's day to stand guard, he would cry out: "Flee far from me, both of you: The evil thoughts inside of me and the birds."

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'Flores apparuerunt in terra nostra. . . Fulcite me floribus. (The flowers appear on the earth. . . stay me up with flowers. Sg 2:12,5)
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« Reply #24 on: May 29, 2013, 12:24:52 AM »

Who knows what birds can symbolize? Any thoughts?
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'Flores apparuerunt in terra nostra. . . Fulcite me floribus. (The flowers appear on the earth. . . stay me up with flowers. Sg 2:12,5)
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« Reply #25 on: June 10, 2013, 01:21:54 PM »

Who knows what birds can symbolize? Any thoughts?

I believe he is saying that in the same way that he needs to chase the birds away from the hard won fruit of the palm tree, so he also needs to chase the evil thoughts and temptations that we all face daily away from the spiritual fruits he has grown through piety and contemplation. Should one of those birds (temptations) make it through and begin to devour the fruit, he would lose all of the merits that he had worked so hard to cultivate.

At least that's what I get from it.  Smiley
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« Reply #26 on: June 10, 2013, 01:34:02 PM »

Yes, quite so.. And where do temptations come from?  Grin
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'Flores apparuerunt in terra nostra. . . Fulcite me floribus. (The flowers appear on the earth. . . stay me up with flowers. Sg 2:12,5)
Stella Matutina
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« Reply #27 on: June 10, 2013, 03:10:24 PM »

Oh, that's a tough one!

Temptations come from the devil (and from our own flawed nature), so the birds represent demons?
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« Reply #28 on: June 10, 2013, 03:48:17 PM »

Yes, that is the truth!

Birds can represent angels in general! So both good and fallen angels.

If I am not misremembering I wish i could remember better there is a beautiful scene during the death of a saint where shining white birds surround the saint, and then disappear.

Thinking of them in that context then reading when Our Lord says, 'Consider the birds of the air. . .'

He does not simply say, birds, he says, 'birds of the air'.  Which would be another way of saying angels. 'Consider the birds of the air, they neither sow nor reap. . .'

Which makes me think of how the monks aspire after the angels for how to live their spiritual life. While the laity aspire after the monks for their spiritual life. The angels live not touched or at all troubled by the material world. The monks aspire to be like this to the extent the Lord permits.
 
Well, I had not noticed that Our Lord said, 'birds of the air' and the 'of the air' part and thought of its possible significance till you answered, so I am very happy. It is a good day! Thank you! Deo gratias Stella!  Cheesy
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'Flores apparuerunt in terra nostra. . . Fulcite me floribus. (The flowers appear on the earth. . . stay me up with flowers. Sg 2:12,5)
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« Reply #29 on: June 10, 2013, 04:43:13 PM »

No, thank you for the insights, and for the spiritual puzzle!
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« Reply #30 on: June 10, 2013, 10:11:09 PM »

A brother posed the following question to a renowned and experienced Elder:
"My Elder, please tell me what thoughts I should have in my heart."
The Elder replied:
"All of the things thought about by man, insofar as they exist below Heaven (and therefore pertain to ephemeral and earthly matters), are vanity. Only he who persists in remembrance of Jesus is in the truth."

To the same Elder who gave the previous answer yet another question was posed:
"How ought a monk to be?"
To this question, he responded as follows:
"In my opinion, a monk must be completely alone -- that is, free from every material care and earthly distraction -- and must address himself to God alone; in other words, the perfect monk must think always and exclusively about God alone."
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'Flores apparuerunt in terra nostra. . . Fulcite me floribus. (The flowers appear on the earth. . . stay me up with flowers. Sg 2:12,5)
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« Reply #31 on: June 16, 2013, 01:54:43 AM »

Once several brothers visited a great Elder. The Elder asked the first brother:

"What work do you do, brother?"
"Abba, I plait ropes," he answered.
"May God weave a crown for you, my child."
Then he asked the second brother: "And you, what do you make?"
"Rush mats," he replied.
"God will strengthen you, my child."
In turn, the Elder asked the third brother: "And you, what work do you do?"
"I make sieves, my Elder."
"God will protect you, my child."
Afterwards, he likewise spoke to the fourth brother, "And what work do you do?"
"I am a calligrapher," he answered.
"You know what is needed," the Elder said in response to him.
Finally, he asked the fifth brother, "And at what do you work?"
"I weave linen cloth," the fifth brother replied.
"In such things I am not involved," the Elder replied.

With these answers, the Elder meant, specifically, the following:

The brother who plaited ropes, if he took care, was weaving, together with God a crown for himself.
The brother who was making rush-mats needed strength, since his work was exhausting.
He who was making sieves needed protection from God, since he sold them in the villages.
The calligrapher had need of humbling his heart, for this art brings pride to those who are not vigilant.
To the brother who wove linen fabric, the Elder said that he had no involvement, since this man was occupied in business pursuits and not with the handiwork appropriate to a monastic. For, if from afar, one sees someone supporting himself by making baskets, rush mats, and sieves, he knows that this is monastic, because his handiwork is made from a plant and can be burned by fire. But when one beholds a fabric salesman he says, "Here come the hawkers, since this is a worldly work and is not profitable for very many -- monks, that is."
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'Flores apparuerunt in terra nostra. . . Fulcite me floribus. (The flowers appear on the earth. . . stay me up with flowers. Sg 2:12,5)
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