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Desert Wisdom

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Desert Wisdom: Sayings from the Desert Fathers
TranslatorYushi Nomura
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish translation of Greek and Latin originals
GenreWisdom literature
Set inEgypt
PublisherImage Books
Publication date
ISBN0-385-18079-9 Search this book on .

Desert Wisdom: Sayings from the Desert Fathers is a selection of quotes from the Alphabetical Collection of the Sayings of the Desert Fathers by Yushi Nomura (1984).

Translation note[edit]

The text was translated from texts found in:

  • Patrologia Latina, volume 73, compiled by J. P. Migne, Paris, 1849
  • Patrologia Graeca, volume 65, compiled by J. P. Migne, Paris, 1858

It is accompanied by Zen Buddhist-style illustrations.

Sayings from the Desert Fathers[edit]

  • Abba Poemen said about Abba Pior that every single day he made a fresh beginning.

  • Abba Isaiah said: When someone wishes to render evil for evil, he is able to hurt his brother’s conscience even by a single nod.

  • Abba Sisoes said: Seek God, and not where God lives.

  • One of the fathers said: Just as it is impossible to see your face in troubled water, so also the soul, unless it is clear of alien thoughts, is not able to pray to God in contemplation.

  • It was said about Abba Agathon that for three years he carried a pebble around in his mouth until he learned to be silent.

  • Abba John the Little said: We have abandoned a light burden, namely self-criticism, and taken up a heavy burden, namely self-justification.

  • Abba John of Thebaid said: Above all things, a monk ought to be humble.
In fact, this is the first commandment of the Savior who said: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

  • Once the rule was made in Scetis that they should fast for the entire week before Easter.
During this week, however, some brothers came from Egypt to see Abba Moses, and he made a modest meal for them. Seeing the smoke, the neighbors said to the priests of the church of that place: Look, Moses has broken the rule and is cooking food at his place.
Then the priests said: When he comes out, we will talk to him.
When the Sabbath came, the priests, who knew Abba Moses’ great way of life, said to him in public: Oh, Abba Moses, you did break the commandment made by people, but you have firmly kept the commandment of God.

  • Abba Isaiah said to those beginners who were off to a good start, obedient to the tradition of the holy fathers: Take for instance purple cloth: the original dye cannot be removed.
And: Just as the young branches can easily be corrected and bent, so can beginners who are obedient.

  • Abba Mios was asked by a soldier whether God would forgive a sinner.
After instructing him at some length, the old man asked him: Tell me, my dear, if your cloak were torn, would you throw it away?
Oh, no! he replied, I would mend it and wear it again.
The old man said to him: Well, if you care for your cloak, will not God show mercy to his own creature?

  • It was said about John the Little that one day he said to his older brother: I want to be free from care and not to work but to worship God without interruption.
And he took his robe off, and went into the desert. After staying there one week, he returned to his brother.
And when he knocked at the door, his brother asked without opening it: Who is it?
He replied: It’s John, your brother.
The brother said: John has become an angel and is not among people anymore.
Then he begged and said: It’s me!
But his brother did not open the door and left him there in distress until the next morning.
And he finally opened the door and said: If you are a human being, you have to work again in order to live.
Then John repented, saying: Forgive me, brother, for I was wrong.

  • In Scetis, a brother went to see Abba Moses and begged him for a word.
And the old man said: Go and sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything.

  • Abba Anthony said: The time is coming when people will be insane, and when they see someone who is not insane, they will attack that person saying: You are insane because you are not like us.

  • Abba Isaac said: Abba Pambo used to say that the monk’s coat should be such that even if he threw it out of the cell and left it for three days, still nobody would take it.

  • Some old men came to see Abba Poemen, and said to him: Tell us, when we see brothers dozing during the sacred office, should we pinch them so they will stay awake?
The old man said to them: Actually, if I saw a brother sleeping, I would put his head on my knees and let him rest.

  • Abba Evagrius said that there was a brother, called Serapion, who didn’t own anything except the Gospel, and this he sold to feed the poor.
And he said these words, which are worth remembering: I have even sold the very word which commanded me: Sell everything, and give to the poor.

  • Amma Syncletica said: If you happen to live in a community, do not move to another place, for it will harm you greatly. If a bird leaves her eggs, they never hatch. So also the monk and the nun grow cold and dead in faith by going from place to place.

  • One day Abba Macarius was on his way back to his cell from the marsh, carrying palm leaves. And look! there was the devil on the road, holding a sickle and trying to attack him.
But he couldn’t, and said: I am suffering a great deal of violence from you, O Macarius. I do everything you do for sure. When you fast, I do not eat, and when you keep vigil, I don’t go to sleep at all. Yet there is only one thing in which you outdo me.
Then Abba Macarius asked: What is it?
The devil replied: It is your humility, and because of it I am powerless against you.

  • Abba Silvanus said: Woe to the person whose reputation is greater than his work.

  • One day Abba Arsenius was asking an old Egyptian man for advice about what he was thinking. There was someone who saw this and said to him: Abba Arsenius, why is a person like you, who has such a great knowledge of Greek and Latin, asking a peasant like this about your thoughts?
He replied: Indeed, I have learned the knowledge of Latin and Greek, yet I have not learned even the alphabet of this peasant.

  • A brother who was living among other brothers asked Abba Bessarion: What should I do?
The old man replied: Be silent, and do not measure yourself against the others.

  • There was a man who was leading an ascetic life and not eating bread. He went to visit an old man. It happened that pilgrims also dropped by, and the old man fixed a modest meal for them. When they sat together to eat, the brother who was fasting picked up a single soaked pea and chewed it. When they arose from the table, the old man took the brother aside and said: Brother, when you go to visit somewhere, do not display your way of life, but if you want to keep to it, stay in your cell and never come out. He accepted what the old man said, and after that behaved like the others whenever he met with them.

  • Amma Syncletica said: In the beginning, there is struggle and a lot of work for those who come near to God. But after that, there is indescribable joy. It is just like building a fire: at first it’s smoky and your eyes water, but later you get the desired result. Thus we ought to light the divine fire in ourselves with tears and effort.

  • It was said about one brother that when he had woven baskets and put handles on them, he heard a monk next door saying: What shall I do? The trader is coming but I don’t have handles to put on my baskets!
Then he took the handles off his own baskets and brought them to his neighbor, saying: Look, I have these left over. Why don’t you put them on your baskets? And he made his brother’s work complete, as there was need, leaving his own unfinished.

  • A brother came to see Abba Theodore, and started to talk and inquire about things which he himself had not tried yet. The old man said to him: You have not found a boat or put your gear into it, and you haven’t even sailed, but you seem to have arrived in the city already! Well, do your work first; then you will come to the point you are talking about now.

  • It was said about Abba John the Little that he went away to an old Theban in Scetis who lived in the desert. Once his Abba took a piece of dry wood, planted it, and said to him: Water it every day with a bottle of water until it bears fruit. The water, however, was so far away from there that John had to go out late in the evening and come back the next morning.
Three years later, the tree came to life and bore fruit. Then the old man took some of the fruit and brought it to the church, and said to the brothers: Take and eat the fruit of obedience!

  • An old man said: I never wanted work which was useful to me but loss to my brother. For I have this expectation, that what helps my brother is fruitful for me.

  • An old man said: Constant prayer quickly straightens out our thoughts.

  • A brother asked an old man: What shall I do? For many thoughts are bothering me, and I don’t know how to fight back.
The old man said: Do not fight against all of them, but against one. In fact, all thoughts of monks have a single head. Therefore, you have to figure out which and what kind it is, and fight against it. By doing so, you can defeat the rest of those thoughts.

  • A brother who had sinned was expelled by the priest from the church. But Abba Bessarion stood up and went out with him, saying: I too am a sinner.

  • The old men used to say: If you see a young person climbing up to heaven by his own will, hold him by the foot, and pull him down to the ground, for it is just not good for him.

  • One day, when Abba Agathon was on his way to town to sell small utensils, he saw a leper sitting on the roadside, who asked: Where are you going?
Abba Agathon replied: To town, to sell these things.
Then he said: Do me a favor, and take me there. So he carried him to the town.
Then he said: Put me down wherever you sell those things. So he did.
And when he sold one item, the leper asked: How much did you sell it for? So he told him how much it was.
Then he said: Buy me something nice. So he bought it. He sold another item.
Then the leper asked: And how much was it? So he told him the price.
Then he said: Buy me this. So he bought it. After selling everything, he wanted to go.
Then the leper asked: Are you going back?
He replied: Sure.
Then he said: Do me a favor again and take me back to the place where you found me. So he carried him back to the place where he was.
Then he said: You are blessed, Agathon, by the Lord, in heaven and on earth!
As the Abba lifted his eyes, he saw nobody, for it was an angel of the Lord who had come to test him.

  • Abba Hyperichius said: The person who teaches others by actions, not by words, is truly wise.

  • A brother asked Abba Hieracus: Give me a word. How can I be saved?
The old man said to him: Sit in your cell; if you are hungry, eat; if you are thirsty, drink; and just do not speak evil of anyone, and you will be saved.

  • An old man said: If you have words, but no work, you are like a tree with leaves but no fruit. But just as a tree bearing fruit is also leafy, a person who has good work comes up with good words.

  • Abba Zeno, the disciple of Abba Silvanus, said: Never live in a well-known place, nor stay with a famous person, nor lay a foundation on which you are going to build a cell someday.

  • A brother came to visit Abba Silvanus at Mount Sinai. When he saw the brothers working hard, he said to the old man: Do not work for the food that perishes. For Mary has chosen the good part.
Then the old man called his disciple: Zachary, give this brother a book and put him in an empty cell.
Now, when it was three o’clock, the brother kept looking out the door, to see whether someone would come to call him for the meal.
But nobody called him, so he got up, went to see the old man, and asked: Abba, didn’t the brothers eat today?
The old man said: Of course we did.
Then he said: Why didn’t you call me?
The old man replied: You are a spiritual person and do not need that kind of food, but since we are earthly, we want to eat, and that’s why we work. Indeed, you have chosen the good part, reading all day long, and not wanting to eat earthly food.
When the brother heard this, he repented and said: Mary certainly needed Martha, and it is really by Martha’s help that Mary is praised.

  • Saint Syncletica said: Just as a treasure exposed is quickly spent, so also any virtue which becomes famous or well publicized vanishes. Just as wax is quickly melted by fire, so the soul is emptied by praise, and loses firmness of virtue.

  • Abba Poemen said to Abba Joseph: Tell me how I can become a monk.
And he replied: If you want to find rest here and hereafter, say in every occasion, who am I? and do not judge anyone.

  • Abba John the Little said: No one can build a house from the top down; rather, you build the foundation first and then build upwards.
People said to him: What do you mean by that?
He said to them: The foundation means your neighbor whom you must win, and you ought to start from there. For all the commandments of Christ depend on this.

  • An old man said: If you have lost gold or silver, you can find something in place of what you lost. However, if you lose time you cannot replace what you lost.

  • Once a brother committed a sin in Scetis, and the elders assembled and sent for Abba Moses. He, however, did not want to go. Then the priest sent a message to him, saying: Come, everybody is waiting for you.
So he finally got up to go. And he took a worn-out basket with holes, filled it with sand, and carried it along.
The people who came to meet him said: What is this, Father?
Then the old man said: My sins are running out behind me, yet I do not see them. And today I have come to judge the sins of someone else.
When they heard this, they said nothing to the brother, and pardoned him.

  • A brother asked Abba Poemen: What does it mean to get angry at one’s brother without cause?
And he replied: When your brother attacks you, whatever the insults are, if you get angry at him, you are getting angry without cause. Even if he were to pull out your right eye, and to cut off your right hand, if you get angry at him, you are getting angry without cause. Yet if he were to try to take you away from God, then get angry!

  • Abba Poemen asked Abba Anthony: What should I do?
The old man said: Do not be confident in your own righteousness, do not worry about a thing once it’s done, and control your tongue and your stomach.

  • A brother asked Abba Pambo: Why do the spirits hold me back from doing good to my neighbor?
The old man said: Do not talk like that, or you will make God a liar. Why don’t you say, I don’t want to be kind at all? Long ago, God indeed said: I have given you the power to tread upon scorpions and serpents, and over all the strength of the Enemy. Now why don’t you stamp down the evil spirit?

  • A brother who was insulted by another brother came to Abba Sisoes, and said to him: I was hurt by my brother, and I want to avenge myself.
The old man tried to console him and said: Don’t do that, my child. Rather leave vengeance to God.
But he said: I will not quit until I avenge myself.
Then the old man said: Let us pray, brother; and standing up, he said: O God, we no longer need you to take care of us since we now avenge ourselves.
Hearing these words, the brother fell at the feet of the old man and said: I am not going to fight with my brother any more. Forgive me, Abba.

  • Once two brothers went to visit an old man. It was not the old man’s habit, however, to eat every day. When he saw the brothers, he welcomed them with joy, and said: Fasting has its own reward, but if you eat for the sake of love you satisfy two commandments, for you give up your own will and also fulfill the commandment to refresh others.

  • Abba Nisteros the Great was walking through the desert with a brother, and seeing a dragon, they ran away. Then the brother said to him: Are you afraid too, Father?
The old man replied: I was not afraid, my son, but it was good for me to run away from the dragon; otherwise, I would not have escaped from the spirit of vainglory.

  • It was said about an old man that he endured seventy weeks of fasting, eating only once a week. He asked God about certain words in the Holy Scripture, but God did not answer him.
Then he said to himself: Look, I have put in this much effort, but I haven’t made any progress. So now I will go to see my brother, and ask him.
And when he had gone out, closed the door and started off, an angel of the Lord was sent to him, and said: Seventy weeks of fasting have not brought you near to God. But now that you are humbled enough to go to your brother, I have been sent to you to reveal the meaning of the words.
Then the angel explained the meaning which the old man was seeking, and went away.

  • Abba Poemen said: Teach your mouth to speak what is in your heart.

  • Abba Poemen said: The nature of water is yielding, and that of a stone is hard. Yet if you hang a bottle filled with water above the stone so that the water drips drop by drop, it will wear a hole in the stone. In the same way the word of God is tender, and our heart is hard. So when people hear the word of God frequently, their hearts are opened to the fear of God.

  • Abba Elias said: Unless the mind sings with the body, the labor is in vain.
And: Whoever loves tribulation will have joy and refreshment afterwards.

  • There was an old man who had a good disciple. One day he was annoyed and drove the disciple out. Yet the disciple sat down outside of the cell and waited.
When the old man opened the door, he found him sitting there, and repented before him, saying: You are my father, for your humility and patience have overcome my narrow-mindedness. Come inside! From now on, you are the old man and the father, for sure, and I am the young one and the disciple. For your good works have surpassed my old age.

  • When Abba Macarius was in Egypt, he found a man with a mule stealing his belongings. Then, as though he were a stranger, he helped the robber to load the animal, and peacefully sent him off, saying: We have brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything with us. The Lord has given, and as he has wished, so it has happened. Blessed be the Lord in all things.

  • Once some bandits came to the hermitage of an old man, and said: We have come to take away everything in your cell. And he said: Whatever you see, my sons. Then they took whatever they found in the cell and went away.
But they left behind a little bag which was out of sight. But the old man picked it up, and ran after them, shouting: My sons, take this! You forgot it!
They were indeed amazed by the endurance of the old man, and brought everything back into the cell. And all of them repented and said to each other: He really is a man of God.

  • The devil appeared to a brother, in the disguise of an angel of light, and said to him: I am the angel Gabriel and I have been sent to you.
However, the brother said to him: See if you are not being sent to someone else. I certainly do not deserve to have an angel sent to me. Immediately, the devil disappeared.

  • A brother said to an old man: There are two brothers. One of them stays in his cell quietly, fasting for six days at a time, and imposing on himself a good deal of discipline, and the other serves the sick. Which one of them is more acceptable to God?
The old man replied: Even if the brother who fasts six days were to hang himself by the nose, he could not equal the one who serves the sick.

  • Abba Xanthias said: A dog is better than I am because it also has love, but it does not pass judgment.

  • A philosopher asked Saint Anthony: Father, how can you be enthusiastic when the comfort of books has been taken away from you?
He replied: My book, O Philosopher, is the nature of created things, and whenever I want to read the word of God, it is usually right in front of me.

  • There were two old men who had lived together for many years, and they never quarreled. Now one of them said: Let us try to quarrel once just like other people do.
And the other replied: I don’t know how a quarrel happens.
Then the first said: Look, I put a brick between us, and I say, This is mine, and you say, No, it’s mine, and after that a quarrel begins.
So they placed a brick between them, and one of them said: This is mine, and the other said: No, it’s mine.
And he replied: Indeed, it’s all yours, so take it away with you! And they went away unable to fight with each other.

  • One old man went to visit another. As they were talking, one of them said: I am dead to this world. The other man said to him: Do not be so sure about yourself until you are really dead, for you may say that you are dead, yet Satan is not dead.

  • A leader of a community asked Abba Poemen: How can I gain the fear of God?
Abba Poemen replied: How indeed can we gain the fear of God when we have bellies full of cheese and jars of salted fish?

  • A noble man whom nobody knew came to Scetis carrying gold with him, and asked the priest of the desert to distribute it to the brothers. The priest said to him: The brothers do not need it. But he was very insistent and was not satisfied, so he put the whole sum in a basket at the entrance of the church.
And the priest said: Whoever needs it may take some. But nobody touched it or even looked at it. Then the old man said: God has accepted your offering. Go, and give it to the poor. And the man went away greatly benefited.

  • Abba Sarmatas said: I prefer a person who has sinned if he knows that he sinned and has repented, over a person who has not sinned and considers himself to be righteous.

  • Abba Doulas, the disciple of Abba Bessarion, said: When we were walking along the sea one day, I was thirsty, so I said to Abba Bessarion, Abba, I am very thirsty.
Then the old man prayed, and said to me, Drink from the sea. The water was sweet when I drank it.
And I poured it into a flask, so that I would not be thirsty later.
Seeing this, the old man asked me, Why are you doing that?
I answered, Excuse me, but it’s so that I won't be thirsty later on.
Then the old man said, God is here, and God is everywhere.

  • One day, Theophilus of holy memory, the bishop of Alexandria, came to Scetis. And the brothers who gathered said to Abba Pambo: Say a word to the bishop so that his soul may be benefited here.
The old man replied: If he is not inspired by my silence, he will not be inspired by my words either.

  • Abba Poemen said: If a monk overcomes two things, he can be free from this world.
And a brother asked: What are they?
He replied: Bodily ease and vainglory.

  • A brother came to Abba Poemen and said: Abba, a variety of thoughts are coming into my mind and I am in danger.
The old man took him out in the air and said: Open your robe and take hold of the wind.
And he answered: No, I cannot do it.
The old man said: If you cannot do it, neither can you prevent those thoughts from coming in. But what you snould do is to stand firm against them.

  • There was a man in Egypt whose son was paralyzed, and he brought him to the cell of blessed Macarius, and left him crying at the door, and went away.
Then the old man looked around, and saw the boy crying, and said to him: Who brought you here?
And he said: My father abandoned me here and left.
And the old man said: Stand up and go get him!
The boy was healed at once, and went to find his father, and thus they went home together.

  • Once some people came to an old man in Thebaid, bringing a person possessed by a demon, hoping that he might be cured by the old man. Being asked persistently for quite some time, the old man finally said to the demon: Go out of God’s creation.
And the demon replied: I will go out, but let me ask you just one thing. Tell me, who are the goats and who are the sheep?
Then the old man said: A goat is someone such as I am, but as for the sheep, well, only God knows.
Hearing this the demon cried out in a loud voice: Look, because of your humility I am going out! And he went away that very moment.

  • Abba Isidore of Pelusia said: Living without speaking is better than speaking without living. For a person who lives rightly helps us by silence, while one who talks too much merely annoys us. If, however, words and life go hand in hand, it is the perfection of all philosophy.

  • Abba Poemen said: There is one sort of person who seems to be silent, but inwardly criticizes other people. Such a person is really talking all the time. Another may talk from morning till night, but says only what is meaningful, and so keeps silence.

  • Amma Syncletica said: It is good not to get angry. But if it should happen, do not allow your day to go by affected by it. For it is said: Do not let the sun go down. Otherwise, the rest of your life may be affected by it. Why hate a person who hurts you, for it is not that person who is injust, but the devil. Hate the sickness, but not the sick person.

  • Abba Joseph asked Abba Poemen: How should we fast?
And Abba Poemen said: I myself think it’s good to eat every day, a little at a time, so as not to get full.
Abba Joseph said: Well, when you were young, didn’t you used to fast for two days at a time?
And the old man said: Believe me, indeed I did, for three days, and even a week. But the great elders tried all of this, and found that it is good to eat every day, a little less each time. In this way, they showed us the royal highway, for it is light and easy.

  • One day, Abba Isaac the Theban went to a monastic community and he saw a brother doing wrong, and he condemned him. As he returned to the desert, an angel of the Lord came and stood in front of the door of his cell and said: I won’t let you in.
He asked: What’s the matter?
And the angel replied: God has sent me to ask you where he should cast the sinner on whom you passed judgment.
Immediately he repented and said: I was wrong. Forgive me.
And the angel said: Get up, God has forgiven you. In the future be sure not to judge someone before God passes judgment.

  • As he was dying, Abba Benjamin taught his sons this: Do this, and you'll be saved: Rejoice always, pray constantly, and in all circumstances give thanks.

  • Abba Or said: Either flee from people, or laugh at the world and the people in it, and make a fool of yourself in many things.

  • Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and said: Abba, as much as I am able I practice a small rule, a little fasting, some prayer and meditation, and remain quiet, and as much as possible I keep my thoughts clean. What else should I do?
Then the old man stood up and stretched out his hands toward heaven, and his fingers became like ten torches of flame. And he said: If you wish, you can become all flame.

  • Amma Sarah said: If I pray to God that all people might be inspired because of me, I would find myself repenting at the door of every house. I would rather pray that my heart be pure toward everybody.

  • Abba Nilus said: Whatever you do in revenge against your brother who has hurt you will appear all at once in your heart at the time of prayer.

  • The old men used to say: When we are tested, we are more humbled, for God knows our weakness and protects us. Yet when we boast, God takes his protection away from us. Then we are really lost.

  • Amma Theodora said: A teacher ought to be a stranger to love of domination, and a foreigner to vainglory, far from arrogance, neither deceived by flattery, nor blinded by gifts, nor a slave to the stomach, nor held back by anger, but rather should be patient, kind, and as far as possible humble. He ought to be self-disciplined, tolerant, diligent, and a lover of souls.

  • A brother asked an old man: What is humility?
And the old man said: To do good to those who hurt you.
The brother said: If you cannot go that far, what should you do?
The old man replied: Get away from them and keep your mouth shut.

  • Abba Euprepios said: Bodily things consist of matter. The person who loves worldly things loves stumbling blocks. When we lose something, therefore, we should accept it with joy and thanks, as we have been relieved from care.

  • Abba Sisoes the Theban said to his disciple: Tell me what you see in me and in turn I will tell you what I see in you.
His disciple said to him: You are good in soul, but a little harsh.
The old man said to him: You are good but your soul is not tough.

  • Isidore of Pelusia said: Prize virtues, and do not care for worldly prosperity. For the former are certainly immortal, but the latter is so easily extinguished.

  • An old man said: Do not despise your neighbor, for you do not know whether the spirit of God is in you or in him. Well, I tell you, the one who serves you is your neighbor.

  • Abba Epiphanus said: God sells righteousness very cheap to those who are eager to buy: namely, for a little piece of bread, worthless clothes, a cup of cold water and one coin.

  • Abba Nilus said: Do not want things to turn out as they seem best to you, but as God pleases. Then you will be free of confusion and thankful in your prayer.

  • The brothers asked Abba Agathon: Father, which of the virtues of our way of life demands the greatest effort?
He said to them: Forgive me, but there is no effort comparable to prayer to God. In fact, whenever you want to pray, hostile demons try to interrupt you. Of course they know that nothing but prayer to God entangles them. Certainly when you undertake any other good work, and persevere in it, you obtain rest. But prayer is a battle all the way to the last breath.

  • They asked Abba Macarius: How should we pray?
The old man answered: A long speech is not necessary, but instead stretch out your hands and say, Lord, as you wish and as you know, have mercy. Yet if you feel a conflict is breaking out, you have to say, Lord, help! He knows what is good for us and treats us mercifully.

  • A brother asked Abba Matoes: What shall I do? My tongue causes me trouble and whenever I am among people, I cannot control it and I condemn them in all their good deeds and contradict them. What, therefore, shall I do?
The old man answered him: If you cannot control yourself, go away from people and live alone. For this is a weakness — Those who live together with others ought not to be square, but round, in order to turn toward all.
Further, the old man said: I live alone not because of my virtue, but rather because of my weakness. You see, those who live among people are the strong ones.

  • Abba James said: We do not want words alone, for there are too many words among people today. What we need is action, for that is what we are looking for, not words which do not bear fruit.


  • Nomura, Yushi. 1984. Desert wisdom: Sayings from the Desert Fathers. Garden City, New York: Image Books, a division of Doubleday & Company, Inc. ISBN 0-385-18079-9.