Vigils Reading

Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Vigils Reading

March 22, 2023

The Power of Virtue4
From the discourses and sayings of Dorotheos of Gaza

At the time when I was one of Abba Seridos’ disciples there came a disciple of a great old monk from the region of Ascalon about some business for his abbot. He had the command from his senior to return after vespers to his own cell. When the time came to leave, a violent thunderstorm arose, with rain heavy enough to cause flooding, and yet he wanted to leave as the senior had told him. We begged him to stay, seeing that it was impossible to get safely across the river. He would not be persuaded to stay with us. At last we said, ‘Let us go with him as far as the river. When he sees it, he will return of his own accord.’ So we went off with him, and when we reached the river he took off his cloak and bound it round his head, tied up his scapular and jumped into the raging waters of the river. We just stood there astonished and fearful that he would be drowned, but he kept afloat, and very soon he was seen on the other bank. He put on his cloak, threw us a profound bow from there, received ours in return, and went off at a run. But we stood in wonder, astonished at the power of virtue. We came near with fear, but he went through without danger because of his obedience.

Another Brother was sent by his abba on some necessary business to a correspondent in the country. When he saw himself solicited by the [man’s] daughter to a shameful act and himself in danger of falling, simply cried out, ‘O God of my Father, deliver me’, and straightway he was found on the road to<the> Skete, fleeing toward his spiritual father.

Notice the power of virtue, notice the efficacy of prayer… Mark well the humility and discretion of both… Each of them was counting on the prayers of his father. See how they yoked obedience to humility! Just as horses are yoked together in a chariot so that one does not outstep the other, so obedience needs to have humility yoked together with it. How can a man be worthy of this grace, unless… he treats himself harshly to cut off the desires of his own and to give himself, after God, to his [spiritual] father, without hesitation, doing everything with full confidence as though obeying God. Such a man is worthy to find mercy, such a man is worthy to find salvation.

The story is told of Blessed Basil that, making a visitation of his monasteries, he said to one of the Heads, ‘Have you any saints here?’ The Abba said, ‘Through your prayers, my Lord, we all desire to be saints.’ And again Blessed Basil said to him, ‘No! I mean have you got any saints here?’ And the Abba tumbled to it (for he, too, had spiritual insight). ‘Yes,” he <said>, and he sent for a certain brother. When he arrived, the Saint said to him, ‘ Wash my feet’ and he went and fetched what was necessary. And after his feet were washed, Basil said to the brother, ‘Wait till I wash your feet.’ And without a murmur heallowed himself to be washed by the holy man. After testing the brother in this way, he said, ‘When I enter the sanctuary, you come, too! And remind me to ordain you.’ Again without a murmur, the brother obeyed, and when he saw the holy Basil in the inner sanctuary he went up and reminded him, and Basil ordained him and took him with him, for who else but this blessed brother was suitable to be with this holy godbearing father?… Everyone who throws himself completely into obedience to the Fathers shall surely possess this state of freedom from care and peacefulness of soul

4 Dorotheos of Gaza. Discourses and Sayings. CS 33. Trans. Eric P. Wheeler. Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, INC., 1977. 89-92.




March 22, 2023
Event Category: