The Shepherd, July 2005
FROM THE FATHERS
“THERE is no spiritual excellence greater than that of a man who does not despise his companion.”
Abba Theodore, from the Paradise of the Fathers
“WHEN THEN we are brought under the necessity of finding fault with anyone, let us first consider whether the sin be such as we have never had; secondly that we are yet men, and may fall into it; then, whether it be one that we have had and are now without, and then let our common frailty come into our mind, that pity and not hate may go before the correction. Should we find ourselves in the same fault, let us not reprove, but groan with the offender, and invite him to struggle with us. Seldom indeed and in cases of great necessity is reproof to be employed; and then only that the Lord may be served and not ourselves.”
Blessed Augustine of Hippo, + 430 A.D.
“WE THE FAITHFUL, should look upon all the faithful as one single being, and should consider that Christ dwells in each of them. We should have such love for each of them that we are willing to lay down our loves for him. Nor should we ever think or say that anyone is evil: we should look on everyone as good, as I have already said. Even should you see someone overwhelmed by some passion, execrate not him but the passions that fight against him. And if he is mastered by desires and prepossessions, have even greater compassion for him; for you too may be tempted.”
Venerable Simeon the New Theologian, + 1022 A.D.
“THE MAN who cries out against evil men, but does not pray for them will never know the grace of God.”
St Silouan of Athos, + 1938 A.D.
“OFTEN when someone throws a rock at a dog, rather than rushing at the person who threw the stone, the dog will run and bite the stone. We do the same thing. The tempter uses someone else to tempt us, either in word or deed, and, rather than deal with the tempter who threw the stone, we bite the rock, our fellow man that the hater of good has used against us.”
Elder Amphilochius of Patmos, + 1970 A.D.