Tag Archive: anger


Racism and Asceticism

40a3c679a8a8c232f2bfaf15d6698bdfAt a meeting of monks in Scete, the old men wanted to test Abba Moses. So they poured scorn on him, saying: “Who is this blackamoor that has come among us?” Moses heard them, but said nothing. When the meeting had dispersed, the men who had given the insults, asked him: “Were you not troubled in your heart?” He answered: “I was troubled, and I said nothing.”

~ Sayings of the Desert Fathers

Today is the feast day of St. Moses the Ethiopian, also known as St. Moses the Black. (I’ll give you three guesses why.)

As this saying shows racism is not new. No doubt it grows naturally (however viciously) from our tribal pasts, when one’s society was also one’s extended family. Not only were customs and culture shared, so was DNA and, thus, common physical characteristics. Continue reading

Abba Agatho said: “If an angry man raises the dead, God is still displeased with his anger.”

~ Sayings of the Desert Fathers10.13

I have discovered over the years that this teaching is perhaps more controversial than I would have thought. The fathers seem to be fairly unanimous in the conclusion that anger has but one purpose, to be directed at our own sins and nothing else. Is such a view too extreme? Continue reading