Monday, September 1, 2008

Saying of the Day

Happy Labor Day! I'm away from my copy of Sayings of the Desert Fathers, so I found this at Word from the Desert. I have been drawn to the story St. Moses the Ethiopian for a few years now, for reasons I cannot quite put my finger on--except that he is a great example of one who overcame temptation with the power of God.

Among other things, this too is told of him: Four robbers, not knowing who he was, fell upon him in his monastic cell. He tied them all together like a package, put them on his back like a bundle of straw, and took them to the church where the brethren had gathered. “Since I may not hurt anyone, what do you want me to do with these?”

The robbers confessed and knew then that he was Moses, the onetime notorious and well known robber. They glorified God and spurned the world because of his conversion. For they reasoned thus, “If he who was such a strong and powerful thief fears God, why should we put off our own salvation?”

It was said of Abba Moses the Ethiopian, that the demons attacked him, trying to draw him back into his old ways of intemperance and impurity. He was tempted to such an extent, that he nearly failed in his resolution. Then he went to the great Isidore, I mean the one in Scete, and related all the details of the contest to him.

Isidore said, “Do not be discouraged. These were the beginnings, and for this reason they were the more severe as they attacked, since they were testing your character. A dog does not by nature stay away from a meat market, but only if the market is closed up and no one gives him anything does he stop coming by. So also in your case. If you stand firm, the demon will have to leave you in discouragement.

Palladius, Historia Lausiaca 19.1 6
Abba Moses the Ethiopian, commemorated 28 August