Maxims on the Spiritual Life by Dorotheos of Gaza

Dorotheos of Gaza: Discourses and Sayings. Chapter 22 Maxims on the Spiritual Life

There are 21 maxims in the final chapter of Abbot Dorotheos’ book.  The study of Dorotheos’s discourses and sayings during Great Lent has introduced me, and maybe you, to a great spiritual director. His book is so good not only for the spiritual lessons and direction but because Dorotheos shares not only his faith but himself as well. Here are just a few of the 21 maxims.

Abbot Dorotheos use to say:

  • It is impossible for a man who sticks to his own judgment and his own good idea to submit himself and promote the good of his neighbor.
  • Do not ask for love from your neighbor, for if you ask and he does not respond you will be troubled. Instead, show your love for your neighbor and you will be at rest, and so you will bring your neighbor to love.
  • If it is my duty to get something done, I prefer it to be done with my neighbor’s advice, even if I do not agree with him and it goes wrong, rather than be guided by my own opinion and have it turn out right.
  • It is a good thing on every occasion to prepare for ourselves a little less than we need, for it is not good for us to be completely satisfied in everything.
  • In all things that come upon me I never desire to run around in quest of human wisdom, but I always act with the same power I have on whatever it is and at the same time leave the whole thing to God.
  • It is impossible for a man to be angry with anyone unless his heart is first lifted up against him, unless he despises him and esteems himself superior to him.
  • If, when a man is rebuked or corrected, he is roused to anger, it is a sign that he freely gives way to his own passions. Bearing a rebuke or correction without being put out is a sign that a man does not give way to his passion through weakness or ignorance.
  • I know of no falling away of a monk which did not come from his reliance on his own sentiments. Nothing is more pitiful, nothing more disastrous than to be one’s own spiritual director.

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Filed under Flames of Wisdom, Poems, Books and Reviews

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