Sonntag, 26. Januar 2014

Wise Lessons From Saint Moses the Ethiopian

St. Moses the Ethiopian (Feast Day - August 28)

1. A devout prince, upon hearing of the mortification of St. Moses, went with his retinue into the desert to see him. Informing Moses that the prince was coming to his monastery, Moses quickly ran out and began to flee and to hide somewhere, but he unexpectedly encountered the high-ranking visitors. "Where is the cell of Abba Moses?" the servants of the prince asked not suspecting that this was Moses himself. Moses opened his mouth and said: "What do you want him for? He is an ignorant old man, very untruthful and completely impure in life." Hearing this, the visitors were astonished and continued on. When they arrived at the cell of Moses, they inquired about the elder and the monks said that he was not there. Then they began to relate what a monk on the road had said about Moses. The monks were saddened and asked them: "How did he look, this old man, who spoke to you mocking words about this holy man?" And when they said that he was very dark in the face, tall and in a miserable garment, the monks cried out loudly: "But that was indeed the Abba Moses!" By this incident, the prince benefited greatly spiritually and joyfully returned to his home.

2. Abba Moses said to Abba Poemen, and the first word which was spoken by the old man was: “It is better for a man to put himself to death rather than his neighbour, and he should not condemn him in anything.”

3. “It is good for a man to die unto every work which is evil, and he should not vex a man before his departure from the body.”

4. “If a man doth not put himself in the attitude of a sinner, his prayer will not be heard before God.” A brother said unto him, “What is a sinful soul?” And the old man said, “Every one who beareth his own sins, and considereth not [those] of his companion.”

5. Abba Moses used to say, “Secret withdrawal [from work] maketh dark the mind, but for a man to endure and to persevere in his works maketh light the mind in our Lord, and it strengtheneth and fortifieth the soul.”

6. And he used to say also, “Bear disgrace and affliction in the Name of Jesus with humility and a troubled heart; and shew before Him thy feebleness, and He will become unto thee might.”

7. St. Moses knew how fasting helped in his early spiritual combats. He used to say, “These four lead to fornication: eating and drinking, oversleeping, negligence and decoration of clothes.”

8. “If you want to repent to God, beware of living in luxury, for this stimulates all passions and dispels the fear of God from the heart.”

9. “Control of the body diminishes the effects of other desires. Desire of food awakens the passions and emotions; they are controlled by fasting.”

10. A brother went to Abba Moses and asked him for a word of advice. The old man said to him, “Go, and sit in your cell and your cell will teach you everything.”

11. Of his other sayings, “Discourse with men of the world and mixing with them darken the soul and make her forget contemplation.”

12. The Elder (St. Moses) also said: “If the deeds do not match the prayer, the prayer is of no use!” The brother asked him: “How can the deeds be suitable for the prayers?” The Elder said:”One who prays for the forgiveness of his sins should thereon be alert because when one surrenders his will, God accepts him indeed!”

13. "So, our way my dear friend is to put forth the maximum effort, in the short time we have on earth, to correct and purify our deeds from all evil hoping to gain salvation by the grace of God from the hands of the devils who are anxious to meet us, especially if any of their works are in us, because they are evil and show no mercy. So, blessed is the soul that is free from them, it will be pleased and her pleasure is great."

14. "For this reason, my dear friend, we have to strive with tears so that the Lord may in his kindness have mercy on us. Because those who sow with tears reap with gladness.

Let us possess the desire to be with God, because those who desire God protect themselves from the desire to commit adultery. And those who desire meekness protect themselves from the love of silver (money).

Let us desire peace to protect ourselves from hatred.

Let us posses patience and long suffering because it will protect us from pettiness of the soul.

Let us posses pure love for everyone to protect us from envy and jealousy.

Let us be humble in every act and every deed.

Let us tolerate being cursed and teased to rid ourselves of pride.

Let us be kind to all our neighbors to avoid condemnation.

Let us reject the glories of the world and its honors to avoid false pride.

Let us use the tongue to glorify God and to protect ourselves from lying.

Let us love the purity of the heart to be saved from corruption, because all of these things surround the soul and follow it when it leaves the flesh.

So, if anyone is wise and works with wisdom, he should not give his deposit (surrender the soul) without having the good deeds that will help him go through the difficulty. So, let us use great care as much as we can and the Lord will help our weaknesses. Because the door of forgiveness is always open to those who repent as long as we are in the flesh."

Apolytikion in the First Tone
Thou didst prove to be a citizen of the desert, an angel in the flesh, and a wonderworker, O Moses, our God-bearing Father. By fasting, vigil, and prayer thou didst obtain heavenly gifts, and thou healest the sick and the souls of them that have recourse to thee with faith. Glory to Him that hath given thee strength. Glory to Him that hath crowned thee. Glory to Him that worketh healings for all through thee.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
O all-blest and righteous Father Moses, thou didst drive away the passions' darkness, being richly illumined with light divine; and with thy vigilant prayers, thou didst wither up the wanton pride of the flesh, and didst mount on high to the citadel above, where do thou continually entreat Christ God to grant great mercy unto us.

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