Walk the royal road – Abba Benjamin

Abba Benjamin said, “Walk the royal road and count the miles, and you will not be tired.”

[Apophthegmata Patrum]

A garden that drinks from one fountain – Abba John Colobos

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Abba John used to say, “The whole company of the holy men is like a garden which is full of fruit-bearing trees of various kinds, and wherein the trees are planted in one earth, and all of them drink from one fountain; and thus is it with all the holy men, for they do not have one rule only, but several varieties, and one man labours in one way, and another man in another, but it is one Spirit which operates and works in them.”

[Apophthegmata Patrum]

Love covers a multitude of sins – Abba Poemen

[On this day, the Church commemorates the departure of the great Abba Poemen, a shining star of the wilderness. This Father is the most heavily quoted in the Apophthegmata, his intercessions be with us all].

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Some old men came to Abba Poemen and said to him, “When we see brothers who are dozing at the synaxis (services), shall we rouse them so they will be watchful?” He said to them, “For my part when I see a brother dozing, I put his head on my knees and let him rest.”

[Abba Poemen, Apophthegmata Patrum]

Patience in the trial – Apophthegmata Patrum

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A certain brother, who had vanquished Satan in every thing, subsequently had his eyes blinded by Satan so that he could not see, yet this blessed man did not pray for himself, and that he might be able to see, but he only prayed that he might be able to endure patiently his trial; and through his constancy his eyes were opened.

[Apophthegmata Patrum]

Yesterday I was crucified with Him, today I am glorified with Him – St. Gregory the Theologian

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Yesterday I was crucified with Him; today I am glorified with Him; yesterday I died with Him; today I am quickened with Him; yesterday I was buried with Him; today I rise with Him. But let us offer to Him Who suffered and rose again for us— you will think perhaps that I am going to say gold, or silver, or woven work or transparent and costly stones, the mere passing material of earth, that remains here below, and is for the most part always possessed by bad men, slaves of the world and of the Prince of the world. Let us offer ourselves, the possession most precious to God, and most fitting; let us give back to the Image what is made after the Image. Let us recognize our Dignity; let us honour our Archetype; let us know the power of the Mystery, and for what Christ died.”

[St. Gregory the Theologian, Homily on Pascha]

He is Light, Judge and Resurrection – St. Basil the Great

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It will follow that we should next in order point out the character of the provision of blessings bestowed on us by the Father “through him.” Inasmuch as all created nature, both this visible world and all that is conceived of in the mind, cannot hold together without the care and providence of God, the Creator Word, the Only begotten God, apportioning His succour according to the measure of the needs of each, distributes mercies various and manifold on account of the many kinds and characters of the recipients of His bounty, but appropriate to the necessities of individual requirements.

Those that are confined in the darkness of ignorance He enlightens: for this reason He is true Light. Portioning requital in accordance with the desert of deeds, He judges: for this reason He is righteous Judge. “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son” (Jn 5:22). Those that have lapsed from the lofty height of life into sin He raises from their fall: for this reason He is Resurrection. Effectually working by the touch of His power and the will of His goodness He does all things. He shepherds; He enlightens; He nourishes; He heals; He guides; He raises up; He calls into being things that were not; He upholds what has been created. Thus the good things that come from God reach us “through the Son,” who works in each case with greater speed than speech can utter. For not lightnings, not light’s course in air, is so swift; not eyes’ sharp turn, not the movements of our very thought.

[St. Basil the Great, De Spiritu Sancto]

We have not what God seeks: charity and humility – Apophthegmata Patrum

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An old man was asked, ‘How can I find God?’ He said, ‘In fasting, in watching, in labours, in devotion, and, above all, in discernment. I tell you, many have injured their bodies without discernment and have gone away from us having achieved nothing. Our mouths smell bad through fasting, we know the Scriptures by heart, we recite all the Psalms of David, but we have not that which God seeks: charity and humility.’

[Apophthegmata Patrum]

You wish to live while you are asleep! – Apophthegmata Patrum

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Against the thought [of fornication] another old man who dwelt in the desert used to say, “You wish to live while you are asleep! Go, and labour. Go, and work. Go, seek, and you shall find. Awake and stand up. Knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For there are in the world athletes who are called pugilists, who smite each other, and who are held to be worthy of the victory because they fight persistently and endure; these men do not withdraw defeated when they are wounded, for however many times one [of them] may be smitten by two [others], and however [many may be] the blows which he will suffer from them, he continues to fight, and he conquers and is crowned.”

[Apophthegmata Patrum]

Do not let the sun go down on your wrath – Abba Agathon

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Abba Agathon used to say, “I have never lain down to sleep and kept anger in my heart, or even a thought of enmity against any man; and I have never allowed any man to lie down to sleep keeping any anger against me.

[Abba Agathon, Apophthegmata Patrum]

Whatever the devil casts in, keep casting out – Apophthegmata Patrum

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An old man said, “The Calumniator is the Enemy, and the Enemy will never cease to cast into your house, if he possibly can, impurity of every kind, and it is your duty neither to refuse nor to neglect to take that which is cast in and to throw it out; for if you are negligent your house will become filled with impurity, and you will be unable to enter inside. Therefore whatever the Enemy casts in little by little, throw out little by little, and your house shall remain pure by the Grace of Christ.”

[Apophthegmata Patrum]