Wednesday, August 27, 2008
More on Silence
Here are some more thoughts on the subject of silence, taken from The Sayings of the Desert Fathers.
Three Fathers used to go and visit blessed Anthony [Fr. James' note: This is St. Anthony the Great, the father of monasticism] every year and two of them used to discuss their thoughts and the salvation of their souls with him, but the third always remained silent and did not ask him anything. After a long time, Abba Anthony said to him, "You often come here to see me, but you never ask me anything," and the other replied, "It is enough for me to see you, Father." (Anthony the Great, saying 27)
While still living in the palace, Abba Arsenius prayed to God in these words, "Lord, lead me in the way of salvation." And a voice came saying to him, "Arsenius, flee from men and you will be saved." Having withdrawn to the solitary life, he made the same prayer again and he heard a voice saying to him, "Arsenius, flee, be silent, pray always, for these are the sources of sinlessness." (Arsenius, sayings 1 and 2, emphasis added).
A brother who shared a lodging with other brothers asked Abba Bessarion, "What should I do?" The old man replied, "Keep silence, and do not compare yourself with others." (Bessarion, saying 10).
...Abba Theophilus, the archbishop [Fr. James' note: Theophilus was a desert monk who later became Archbishop of Alexandria], came to Scetis one day. The brethren who were assembled said to Abba Pambo, "Say something to the archbishop, so that he may be edified." The old man said to them, "If he is not edified by my silence, he will not be edified by my speech." (Theophilus the Archbishop, saying 2).