LENTEN FIRE: February 20

From Becoming Fire: Through the Year with the Desert Fathers and Mothers 


Stones in the mouth

It was said about Abba Agathon that for three years he placed a stone in his mouth until he had succeeded in keeping quiet.

The chickpea in the road

Abba Agathon was walking one time with his disciples.  One of them, finding a small green chickpea in the road, said to the old man, “Father, may I take it?”

The old man stared at him in amazement and said, “And did you put it there?”

The brother said to him, “No.”

The old man said, “Why, then, do you wish to take something that you did not put there?”

Make your thoughts like a prisoner’s thoughts

A brother asked Abba Ammonas, “Tell me a word.”

The old man said, “Go, make your thoughts like those that evil-doers think who are in prison, for they are always asking people, ‘where is the prefect?’ and ‘When is he coming?’ and they wail in expectation.  In the same way the monk ought to attend to and reprove his soul at all times, saying, ‘God help me!  How will I be able to stand before the judgment seat of Christ?  How will I be able to offer him any defense?’  If you attend to yourself this way at all times, you can be saved.”

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