Category: Praise


Sowing Seeds and Singing Psalms

[Saint Syncletice] said: “There is a useful sorrow, and a destructive sorrow. Sorrow is useful when we weep for sin, and for our neighbour’s ignorance, and so that we may not relax our purpose to attain to true goodness: these are the true kinds of sorrow. Our enemy adds something to this. For he sends sorrow without reason, which is something called accidie. We ought always to drive out a spirit like this with prayer and psalmody.”

~ Sayings of the Desert Fathers 10.71

There is a lot that could be gleaned from this saying. It do not think it is controversial to say that “sorrow without reason” is a fairly common phenomenon today. What is interesting about this saying from Saint Sycletice is her perspective on sorrow in general: some sorrow is good, and “sorrow without reason” has a source (“[o]ur enemy”) and a solution: “prayer and psalmody.” Continue reading

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Breathe

Abba Hyperichius said: “Keep praising God with hymnody, and meditate continually, and so lift the burden of temptations that come upon you. A traveller carrying a heavy burden stops from time to time to take deep breaths, and so makes the journey easier and the burden lighter.”

~ Sayings of the Desert Fathers 7.20

Deep breaths. Stop and take deep breaths. This is something for which I can use continual reminders. Thankfully, I have a baby. Continue reading

The World is Not Enough

“Great are you, O Lord, and worthy to be praised”; “great is your strength and your wisdom cannot be measured.” And man—some portion of your creation—wants to praise you, and yet man is surrounded by his mortality, surrounded by the testimony of his sin and the testimony that “you resist the proud”; and nevertheless man—some portion of your creation—wants to praise you. You excite him, in order that he delights to praise you, because you made us for yourself and our heart is restless, until it rests in you.

~ St. Augustine, Confessions 1.1.1

Today, August 28, was St. Augustine’s day. Thus, though the character of his writings can be significantly different and often more overtly philosophical than the desert fathers, I felt like I ought to give such a master of spiritual reflection his due today. He was himself, after all, inspired by the desert fathers, especially St. Antony. Despite the difference of style, however, I think—at least with regards to this passage—there is a unity of focus. Continue reading