Dorotheos of Gaza: Discourses and Sayings. Chapter 13 On Enduring Temptation Calmly and Thankfully
Although Dorotheos will end this chapter with the following quote from Abba Moses it so good that I am putting it at the beginning of my notes!
Have you fallen? Rise up; and if it happens again and again and again, do the same. Abba Moses!!
Abbot Poemen used to say very accurately that the signs of a true monk make their appearance in time of temptation. For a monk, truly setting out to serve Our Lord, must be wise enough to prepare his soul for temptations, lest at any time become estranged (from the Lord) or be overwhelmed by what comes upon him. And he must believe that nothing happens apart from God’s providence. In God’s providence everything is absolutely right and whatever happens is for the assistance of the soul. (Page 192)
Dorotheos says that we should follow St. Paul’s direction in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 and:
- Never give up
- Not become weak-willed
- Accept everything calmly with lowliness of mind
- Hope in God whatever comes
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
Dorotheos says, “we are men who have no patience and no desire for a little labor and no desire to brace ourselves to accept anything with humility. The more we run away from our temptations, the more they weigh us down and the less we are able to drive them away.” (Page 194)
He says that in order to deal with temptations we need to learn from the ocean swimmer who knows what to do when a great wave comes. He does not swim against the big wave he is patient and humble and dives under it wave as it passes right on by him.
Dorotheos reminded me that the Desert Fathers taught that we should not ask the Lord to take our temptations away from us. But, rather, we should ask the Lord to grant us endurance to persevere the temptations.
Why does the Lord allow us to endure temptations?
Unless a man is tempted and sees the troubles which uncontrolled passions cause him, he will not at any tie fight to be cleansed of them. Dorotheos Page 197