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Sayings of the Strong Saint Abba Moses

The Gates of Heaven ‎

‎+ Abba Poemen said: Abba Moses asked Abba Zechariah a question when he was about to die, saying, "Fr. is it ‎good that we should hold our peace?" And Zechariah said to him, "Yes, my son, hold your peace." And at the time ‎of his death, while Abba Isodore was sitting with him, Abba Moses looked up to heaven and said, "Rejoice and be ‎glad, O my son Zechariah, for the gates of heaven have been opened." ‎

Solitude and the Monastic Life ‎

‎+ Abba Moses used to say, "The man who flees from the world is like ripe grapes; but he who dwells among the ‎attractions of the children of men is like sour grapes." ‎

‎+ A certain brother went to Abba Moses in Scete and asked him to speak a word. The elder said to him, "Go and sit ‎in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything."‎

‎+ They used to that Abba Nastir was like the serpent which Moses made to heal of the people (Numbers 21:9); that ‎he was perfect in all spiritual excellences; and that although he kept silence, he healed every man.. Abba Moses ‎besought Abba Zechariah, saying "Speak a word of consolation to the brothers." And Zechariah took his cloak and ‎placed it under his feet, saying, "Unless a man dies like this, he cannot be a monk." ‎

‎+ Abba Poemen said, "A brother asked Abba Moses, ‘How is a man supposed to keep himself from his neighbor?’ ‎The elder said to him, ‘Unless a man keeps in his heart that he has been three years in the grave, he will not be ‎strong enough to keep this saying." ‎

‎+ "It is good for a man to die to every work which is evil, and he should not trouble a man before his departure from ‎the body."‎

‎+ "If a man does not put himself in the attitude of a sinner, his prayer will not be heard before God." A brother said ‎to him, "What is a sinful soul?" And the elder said, "Every one who bears his own sins, and does not consider those ‎of his companion."‎

Humility, Patience, and Long-Suffering ‎

‎+ Once, the Fathers of Scete were gathered together. But because some people wanted to see Abba Moses, they ‎treated him rudely saying, "Why does this Ethiopian come and go in our midst?" But Moses, hearing this, held his ‎peace. When the congregation was dismissed, they said to him, "Abba Moses, were you not upset?" And he said to ‎them, "Although I was upset, I did not utter a word."‎

‎+ They used to say when Abba Moses was one of the clergy he wore a long outer garment and that the Bishop said ‎to him, "Behold you are all white, O Abba Moses." The elder said to him, "Is the abba within or without?" And ‎again, wishing to test him, the Bishop said to the clergy, "When Abba Moses goes into the sanctuary drive him out, ‎follow him, and hear what he says." So when he went into the sanctuary, they rebuked him and drove him out ‎saying, "Go outside, O Ethiopian!" After he left, he said to himself, "They treated you rightly, O you whose skin is ‎dark and black. You shall not go back as if you were a white man." ‎

‎+ Abba Eupraxius used to say, "Humility is the tree of life which rises in the heights." He also said, "Make ‎yourself like the publican and don’t be guilty with the Pharisee. Choose the meekness of Moses so your heart, ‎which is as hard as steel, may change into a fountain of water."‎

His Hospitality and Love ‎

‎+ Once a command was given to the brothers who were in Scete, saying, "Fast this week and celebrate the ‎Passover." So some of the brothers came from Egypt to Abba Moses. While he was boiling a little food for them, ‎his neighbors saw the smoke of his fire rising up and they said to the clergy, "Behold, Moses has broken the ‎command and has boiled some food in his cell." So they said to them, "Hold your peace, when he comes to us we ‎will speak to him." Now when the Sabbath arrived, the clergy, having regard to his great ascetic labors, said to him ‎before the whole assembly, "O Moses, though you broke the command of me, you established that of God." ‎

‎+ There was a certain brother who came to Scete to see Abba Arsenius, entered the church and entreated the clergy ‎to take him to see him. The clergy said to him, "Refresh yourself a little and you will see him." The brother said to ‎them, "I will eat nothing until I meet and see him." When the clergy heard this they sent a brother with him to show ‎him Abba Arsenius, because his cell was some distance away. And when they had arrived there, they knocked at the ‎door and went inside. After greeting him and praying, they sat down and held their peace. The brother who was ‎from the church answered and said, "I will leave, pray for me." But when the other brother saw that he did not ‎speak with the elder, he said to the brother from the church, "I also will go with you," and they departed together. ‎

Then he entreated him, saying, "Take me also to Abba Moses who was a thief." When they went to him, ‎the elder received them with joy, and having refreshed them greatly he dismissed them in peace. The brother who ‎had brought the visitor to Abba Moses said to him, "Behold, I brought you to a man from a foreign land and to an ‎Egyptian, which of the two pleases you? And he answered and said to him, "The man who just received me and ‎refreshed me." When one of the elders heard what had happened, he prayed to God and said, "O Lord, explain this ‎thing to me, for one flees from the world for Your Name’s sake and the other welcomes and kindly receives others ‎for Your Name’s sake." Behold, suddenly there appeared to him on the river two great boats: Abba Arsenius and ‎the Spirit of God were traveling in silence in the one; and Abba Moses and the angels of God, feeding the monk with ‎honey from the comb, were in the other. ‎

Struggle with the Demons ‎

‎+ On one occasion Abba Moses of Patara was engaged in a war against fornication, and he could not endure being in ‎his cell, and he went and informed Abba Isidore of it; and the elder entreated him to return to his cell, but he would ‎not agree to this. And having said, "Fr., I cannot bear it," the elder took him up to the roof of his cell, and said ‎unto him, "Look to the west," and when he looked he saw multitudes of devils with troubled and terrified aspects, ‎and they showed themselves in the forms of phantoms which were in fighting attitudes. Abba Isidore said unto him, ‎‎"Look to the east," and when he looked he saw innumerable holy angels standing there, and they were in a state of ‎great glory. Then Abba Isidore said unto him, "Behold, those who are in the west are those who are fighting with the ‎holy ones, and those whom you have seen in the east are they who are sent by God to the help of the saints, for those ‎who are with us are many." And having seen this Abba Moses took courage and returned to his cell without fear.‎

Judge not… ‎

‎+ A certain brother committed an offence in Scete, the camp of the monks, and when a congregation was assembled ‎on this matter, they sent after Abba Moses, but he refused to come; then they sent the priest of the church to him, ‎saying, "Come, for all the people are expecting you," and he rose up and came. He took a basket with a hole in it ‎and filled it with sand, and carried it upon his shoulders, and those who went out to meet him said unto him, "What ‎does this mean, O father?" And he said to them, "The sands are my sins which are running down behind me and I ‎cannot see them, and, even, have come to this day to judge shortcomings which are not mine." And when they heard ‎this they set free that brother and said nothing further to him.‎

‎+ These are the words, which Abba Moses said to Abba Poemen, and the first word, which was spoken by the elder, ‎was: "It is better for a man to put himself to death rather than his neighbor, and he should not condemn him in ‎anything."‎

His Martyrdom ‎

‎+ On one occasion when the brethren were sitting with Abba Moses, he said to them, "Behold, this day has the ‎barbarians come to Scete; rise up and flee." And they said to him, "Will you not flee, father? He said to them, "I ‎have been expecting this day to come for many years past, so that might be fulfilled the command of our Redeemer, ‎‎"Those who take by the sword shall perish by the sword’" (St. Matthew xxvi, 52). And they said to him, "We then ‎will not flee, but will die with you." He said to them, "This is not my affair, but your own desire; let every man look ‎after himself in the place where he dwells." Now the brethren were seven in number. And after a little he said to ‎them, "Behold, the barbarians have drawn near the door"; and the barbarians entered and slew them. Now one of ‎them had been afraid, and he fled behind the palm leaves, and he saw seven crowns come down and place ‎themselves on the heads of those who had been slain.‎

Posted by Fr. Moses Samaan

April 9, 2009