Here I share snippets from writings of men of God of the past.
1. The Imitation of Christ, Thomas à Kempis
2. The Rule of St Benedict
3. The Desert Fathers, Sayings of the Early Christian Monks
4. Al-Qushayri’s Epistle On Sufism
“A hermit said, ‘Take care to be silent. Empty your mind. Attend to your meditation in the fear of God, whether you are resting or at work. If you do this, you will not fear the attacks of the demons.”
Abba Moses, “Sit in thy cell and thy cell will teach thee all.”
“Somebody asked Anthony, ‘What shall I do in order to please God?’ He replied, ‘Do what I tell you, which is this: wherever you go, keep God in mind; whatever you do, follow the example of Holy Scripture; wherever you are, stay there and do not move away in a hurry. If you keep to these guide-lines, you will be saved.'”
“He (Evagrius) also said, ‘A monk was told that his father had died. He said to the messenger, ‘Do not blaspheme. My Father cannot die.'”
Abbot Pastor, “If someone does evil to you, you should do good to him, so that by your good work you may drive out his malice.”
An Elder, “A man who keeps death before his eyes will at all times overcome his cowardliness.”
Blessed Macarius said, “This is the truth, if a monk regards contempt as praise, poverty as riches, and hunger as a feast, he will never die.”
“It happened that as Abba Arsenius was sitting in his cell that he was harassed by demons. His servants, on their return, stood outside his cell and heard him praying to God in these words, ‘O God, do not leave me. I have done nothing good in your sight, but according to your goodness, let me now make a beginning of good.'”
When one desert father told another of his plans to “ shut himself into his cell and refuse the face of men, that he might perfect himself,” the second monk replied, “ Unless thou first amend thy life going to and fro amongst men, thou shall not avail to amend it dwelling alone.”
“Abba Anthony said, ‘Whoever hammers a lump of iron, first decides what he is going to make of it, a scythe, a sword, or an axe. Even so we ought to make up our minds what kind of virtue we want to forge or we labour in vain.’
He also said, ‘Obedience with abstinence gives men power over wild beasts.'”
It was said of Abba John the Dwarf, that one day he said to his elder brother, ‘I should like to be free of all care, like the angels, who do not work, but ceaselessly offer worship to God.’ So he took off his cloak and went away into the desert. After a week he came back to his brother. When he knocked on the door, he heard his brother say, before he opened it ‘Who are you?’ He said, ‘I am John, your brother.’ But he replied, ‘John has become an angel, and henceforth he is no longer among men.’ Then the other begged him saying, ‘It is I.’ However, his brother did not let him in, but left him there in distress until morning. Then, opening the door, he said to him, ‘You are a man and you must once again work in order to eat.’ Then John made a prostration before him, saying, ‘Forgive me.'”
The Imitation of Christ (Latin: De Imitatione Christi) by Thomas à Kempis is a Christian devotional book. It was first composed in Latin ca. 1418–1427. It is a handbook for spiritual life arising from the Devotio Moderna movement, of which Kempis was a member.
The Imitation is perhaps the most widely read Christian devotional work next to the Bible, and is regarded as a devotional and religious classic. Its popularity was immediate, and it was printed 745 times before 1650. Apart from the Bible, no book had been translated into more languages than the Imitation of Christ at the time.
Original video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZpOzSuzbXQ