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  What can we learn from the Desert Fathers & Mothers? Back to the List of Slideshows
Monastery of the Archangel Gabriel
at Fayoum, Egypt

"The desert became a city."
    
slide 15 of 15

Here are several excerpts from In the Heart of the Desert on the sayings of the holy figure of Abba Zosimas:
When he began (to speak), the blessed Abba Zosimas spoke in the following manner. First, he would perform the sign of the cross over his mouth. He would say that, when the divine Word became human, He granted abundant grace to those who believed and who still believe in Him. For, it is possible to believe even now, indeed even to begin from this day, if we so desire. After all, our desire depends on our free will, with the cooperation also of grace. Thus, it is possible for whoever so desires, to regard the whole world as being nothing.

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[Abba Zosimas] used to say: “Whatever may happen to a humble person, that person turns toward prayer and considers everyone as a benefactor. However, we have deviated from the way of truth and the directions of the saints. Instead, we seek to forge our own way, according to our wicked desires. Nevertheless, what can be easier than to listen to that holy and practical teacher, Abba Ammonas, who says: ‘Pay close attention to yourself. Then, if someone should afflict you in any matter whatsoever, you will be silent. You will not say anything at all until your heart is softened through unceasing prayer. Afterward, you are able to console your brother.’”

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He used to say: “Every virtue requires labor, and time, and our desire, and above all God’s cooperation. For, if God does not cooperate with our free will, then our struggle is in vain. It is like the farmer, who cultivates and sows his land, but God does not rain on his seed. Nevertheless, God’s cooperation also requires our prayer and supplication. It is through these that we attract God’s assistance for our support. If we neglect prayer, how will God ever recognize our work? Alternatively, how can He do so if we pray in a lukewarm fashion, or in some lazy manner, or if we are quickly discouraged? As I always say: ‘Then, we do not deserve to receive anything at all. For, God pays attention to our desire and grants His gifts in accordance to this.’”
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