a word from the desert
- Abba Marcellus told us, “Believe me, children, there is nothing which troubles, incites, irritates, wounds, destroys, distresses and excites the demons and the supremely evil Satan himself against us, as the constant study of the Psalms. The entire Holy Scripture is beneficial to us and not a little offensive to the demons, but none of it distresses them more than the Psalter. In public affairs, when one party sings the praises of the emperor, the other party is not distressed, nor does it move to attack the first party. But if that party begins reviling the emperor, then the other will turn on it. Thus it is that the demons are not so much troubled and distressed by the rest of Holy Scripture as they are by the Psalms. For when we meditate upon the Psalms; on the one hand, we are praying on our own account, while, on the other hand, we are bringing down curses on the demons.”
John Moschos, Leimonarion (The Spiritual Meadow), 152
early 7th century
Dear Friends of the Desert,
As 2012 draws to a close, so too must “a word from the desert.” As you know, my postings have not been forthcoming in the past several months, and I have received inquires from many dear friends regarding future postings. Unfortunately, the dictates of life prevent me from posting in any sort of regular way. I am grateful for the kind feedback I have received over the years, and for the many new friends I have made, both near and far. I hope that in some small way, the postings have been as beneficial to you as they have been to me. My guiding principal in selecting a “word” has always been that the reading is something that I need to profit from on that particular day. If you have been blessed in any way by these sayings from the ancient (and modern) spiritual fathers and mothers, please remember this unworthy sinner and my family in your prayers.
Later today I hope to post a short bibliography of sources that I have used over the years, as well as some suggested online sources. Until then, two brief words that might be applicable to the New Year:
“The great Macedonius, the first of their deacons and a man zealous for God, told me: It is said of angels that they do not, or as some would have it, that they cannot fall. But men fall, yet they can quickly rise again as so often as this may happen to them. Devils, and devils only, never rise one they have fallen.”
St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Spiritual Perfection 4
Abba Poemen said concerning Abba Pior that every day he made a new beginning.