When Pope Francis visited Egypt earlier this year, he urged all priests and religious to “draw upon to the example of Saint Paul the Hermit, Saint Anthony, the holy Desert Fathers, and the countless monks and nuns who by their lives and example opened the gates of heaven to so many of our brothers and sisters.” Even though the Desert Fathers lived in 4th century, Pope Francis points to them for inspiration and believes their words and example remain relevant for us today.
One of the ways they can inspire us is through their various “sayings.” The close disciples of these holy monks wrote down their profound wisdom and by the 5th century had compiled it into a volume called the Sayings of the Fathers. It features an immense treasury of bite-sized quotes that pack a large spiritual punch. Here is a short sampling of five sayings that will help fill your spiritual sails and get you through the week.
Abba Hyperechius said, “Let your thoughts be ever in the kingdom of heaven and soon you will possess it as a heritage.”Abba Or said, “The crown of the monk is humility.”A brother asked Abba Tithoes, “Which way leads to humility?” The old man said, “The way of humility is this: self-control, prayer, and thinking yourself inferior to all creatures.”Abba Sarmatas said, “Ί prefer a sinful man who knows he has sinned and repents, to a man who has not sinned and considers himself to be righteous.”A brother asked Abba Sisoes, “What shall I do, abba, for I have fallen?” The old man said to him, “Get up again.” The brother said, “Ί have got up again, but I have fallen again.” The old man said, “Get up again and again.” So then the brother said, “How many times?” The old man said, “Until you are taken up either in virtue or in sin. For a man presents himself to judgment in the state in which he is found.”
Who were the Desert Fathers and why do they matter?
A shocking miracle in the Egyptian desert