Dorotheos of Gaza: Discourses and Sayings. Chapter 19 Dialogue with the Cellarer
This chapter is a very brief interaction between Dorotheos and the Cellarer. It is a spiritually intimate interaction and unlike anything we have read up to this point in the book. After several interactions it ends with this question and answer:
CELLARER: Why does Abbot Poemen say that three things are fundamental: To fear the Lord, to pray to the Lord, and to do good to your neighbor?
ABBOT: The Old Man says:
- Fear the Lord, because the fear of God in itself leads on to every virtue. “The fear of God is beginning of wisdom. Psalm 111:10 Also, without the fear of God no one would acquire any virtue or do any good whatever, for it is ‘by the fear of God that everyone turns away from evil. Proverbs 16:6
- Pray to God, because a man cannot gain victory or do any good, even if he fears God and keenly desires to do so, unless he has God’s help. It is absolutely necessary that his own zeal and God’s help be continually working together. A man needs therefore to pray about everything, and to beg God’s help and cooperation in everything he does.
- Do Good to your neighbor, because this is love. A man who fears the Lord and prays to God only helps himself. But only through loving our neighbor is all virtue made perfect. This is why the Old Man adds, “to do good to our neighbor.” For even if a man fears God and even if he continually prays to God he still has a debt of being useful to his neighbor and being good to him; for it is an essential part of love, which is, as the Apostle says, the perfection of the virtues. Cf: Romans 13:10