Abba John the Dwarf

Abba John the Dwarf

34.  Abba John said, ‘I think it best that a man should have a little bit of all  the virtues. Therefore, get up early  every day  and acquire the beginning of every virtue and every commandment of God. Use great patience, with fear and long-suffering, in the love of God, with all  the fervour of your soul and  body. Exercise great humility, bear with  interior distress; be vigilant and pray often with  reverence and groaning,  with  purity  of  speech  and  control  of  your  eyes.  When you  are  despised  do  not  get  angry;  be  at  peace,  and  do  not  render evil for evil. Do not pay attention  to  the faults of others, and do not try  to  compare  yourself  with  others,  knowing  you  are  less  than every  created  thing.  Renounce everything material and that which is of the flesh. Live by  the cross,  in warfare,  in poverty  of spirit,  in voluntary  spiritual  asceticism,  in  fasting,  penitence  and  tears,  in discernment,  in  purity  of  soul,  taking  hold  of  that  which  is  good. Do your work in peace.  Persevere  in  keeping  vigil,  in  hunger  and thirst,  in  cold  and  nakedness,  and  in  sufferings.  Shut yourself in a tomb as though you were already dead, so that at all times you will think death is near.

(From: The Sayings of the Desert Fathers, Benedicta Ward, P. 92)

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