The wisdom of these holy women has inspired many throughout the centuries.
In the 4th century there were many men and women who, inspired by the life of St. Anthony the Abbot, led a life of prayer in the Egyptian desert. Their wisdom has been an inspiration to many throughout the years and can still teach us today.
By the 5th century disciples of these holy men and women compiled a volume that included the deep spiritual insights of the Desert Fathers (and Mothers) into what was called the Sayings of the Fathers. Here is selection of five more sayings from the Desert Mothers that will give your day a spiritual boost.
Amma Theodora said, “It is good to live in peace, for the wise man practices perpetual prayer. It is truly a great thing for a virgin or a monk to live in peace, especially for the younger ones. However, you should realize that as soon as you intend to live in peace, at once evil comes and weighs down your soul through accidie, faintheartedness, and evil thoughts. It also attacks your body through sickness, debility, weakening of the knees, and all the members. It dissipates the strength of soul and body, so that one believes one is ill and no longer able to pray. But if we are vigilant, all these temptations fall away.”
The same amma said that a teacher ought to be a stranger to the desire for domination, vain glory, and pride; one should not be able to fool him by flattery, nor blind him by gifts, nor conquer him by the stomach, nor dominate him by anger; but he should be patient, gentle and humble as far as possible; he must be tested and without partisanship, full of concern, and a lover of souls.
Amma Sarah said, “It is good to give alms for men’s sake. Even if it is only done to please men, through it one can begin to seek to please God.”
Amma Syncletica said, “In the beginning there are a great many battles and a good deal of suffering for those who are advancing towards God and afterwards, ineffable joy. It is like those who wish to light a fire; at first they are choked by the smoke and cry, and by this means obtain what they seek (as it is said: ‘Our God is a consuming fire’ [Heb. 12.24]): so we also must kindle the divine fire in ourselves through tears and hard work.”
She also said, “Just as the most bitter medicine drives out poisonous creatures so prayer joined to fasting drives evil thoughts away.”