The Desert Fathers: Monks and Monasteries of the Egyptian Desert

The Desert Fathers: Monks and Monasteries of the Egyptian Desert
The Monastery of St. Paul of Thebes, Red Sea Desert, Egypt (1990)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

ABBA MOSES - Why Fast? Why Be An Ascetic?


Today's stories are from the life of Abba Moses, a freed slave who lived as a robber in Nitria, becoming a monk late in life. He was martyred with seven others by barbarian invaders.

BEGIN: The old man was asked, "What is the good of the fasts and watchings which a man imposes on himself?" and he replied, "They make the soul humble. For it is written, "Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins" (Psalm 25:18). So if the soul gives itself all this hardship, God will have mercy on it."

The old man was (also) asked, "What should a man do in all the temptations and evil thoughts that come upon him?" The old man said to him, "He should weep and implore the goodness of God to come to his aid, and he will obtain peace if he prays with discernment. For it is written, "With the Lord on my side I do not fear. What can man do to me?" (Psalm 118:6). END

from "The Desert Christian," by Sr. Benedicta Ward, (New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., 1975), p. 142