Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers

nisterus_abba

6 Entries

A brother questioned an old man saying, "What good work should I do so that I may live?" The old man said, "God knows what is good. I have heard it said that one of the Fathers asked Abba Nisterus the Great, the friend of Abba Anthony, and said to him, "What good work is there that I could do?" He said to him, "Are not all actions equal? Scripture says that Abraham was hospitable and God was with him. David was humble, and God was with him. Elias loved interior peace and God was with him. So, do whatever you see your soul desires according to God and guard your heart." Sr. Benedicta Ward, "The Sayings of the Desert Fathers," (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Cistercian Publications, 1975), pp. 153-155



A brother saw Abba Nisterus wearing two tunics and he questioned him saying, "If a poor man came to ask you for a tunic, which would you give him?" He replied, "The better one." And if someone else asked you for one, what would you give him?" The old man said, "Half of the other one." The brother said, "And if someone else asked for one, what would you give him?" He said, "I should cut the rest, give him half, and gird myself with whatever was left." So, the brother said, "And if someone came and asked you for that, what would you do?" The old man said, "I would give him the rest and go and sit down somewhere, until God sent me something to cover myself with, for I would not ask anyone for anything." Sr. Benedicta Ward, "The Sayings of the Desert Fathers," (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Cistercian Publications, 1975), pp. 153-155

Abba Joseph said to Abba Nisterus, "What should I do about my tongue, for I cannot control it?" The old man said to him, "When you speak, do you find peace?" He replied, "No." The old man said, "If you do not find peace, why do you speak? Be silent and when a conversation takes place, it is better to listen than to speak." Sr. Benedicta Ward, "The Sayings of the Desert Fathers," (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Cistercian Publications, 1975), pp. 153-155

Abba Nisterus said that a monk ought to ask himself every night and every morning, "What have we done that is as God will and what have we left undone of that which he does not will?" "He must do this throughout his whole life. This is how Abba Arsenius used to live. Every day strive to come before God without sin. Pray to God in his presence, for he really is present. Do not impose rules on yourself; do not judge anyone. Swearing, making false oaths, lying, getting angry, insulting people, laughing, all that is alien to monks, and he who is esteemed or exalted above that which he deserves suffers great harm." Sr. Benedicta Ward, "The Sayings of the Desert Fathers," (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Cistercian Publications, 1975), pp. 153-155

Abba Nisterus the Great was walking in the desert with a brother. They saw a dragon and they ran away. The brother said to him, "Were you frightened too, Father?" The old man said to him, "I am not afraid, my child, but it is better for me to flee, so as not to have to flee from the spirit of vainglory." Sr. Benedicta Ward, "The Sayings of the Desert Fathers," (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Cistercian Publications, 1975), pp. 153-155

They said of Abba Nisterus when he lived at Rhaithou that for three weeks of the year he would weave baskets, making six each week." Sr. Benedicta Ward, "The Sayings of the Desert Fathers," (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Cistercian Publications, 1975), pp. 153-155





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