Saturday Saints- #5

Today’s Saint is Dorotheus of Gaza:

Dorotheus of Gaza (505-565 or 620, alternative spelling Dorotheos) or Abba Dorotheus, was a Christian monk and abbot. He joined the monastery Abba Serid (or Abba Sveridus) near Gaza through the influence of elders Barsanuphius and John. Around 540 he founded his own monastery nearby and became abbot there. He wrote instructions for monks of which a considerable number have survived and have been compiled into Directions on Spiritual Training. Abba Dorotheus (St. Dorotheus the Hermit of Kemet) is recognized as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox Church and Roman Catholic Church with his Feast Day on June 5 in the Roman Catholic Church and June 18 (June 5 old style) in Churches of Eastern Orthodox tradition.

I chose him for today’s saint because many of his writings survived and I quite liked a number of them. All of them, in addition to the summary of his life, are drawn from the wikipedia article on him. Below are a few of his sayings.

On goodness:

Everyone that desires salvation must not only avoid evil, but is obliged to do good, just as it says in the Psalm: “Depart from evil and do good” (Psalm 34:14). For example, if somebody was angry, he must not only not get angry, but also become meek; if somebody was proud, he must not only refrain from being proud but also become humble. Thus, every passion has an opposing virtue: pride — humility, stinginess — charity, lust — chastity, faintheartedness — patience, anger — meekness, hatred — love.

On the conscience:

When God created man, He planted something divine into him — a certain conception — a spark that has both light and warmth. The conception that enlightens the mind and indicates what is right and what is wrong is called conscience. Conscience is a natural law. Living in times before any written law, patriarchs and saints pleased God by following the voice of their conscience.

On sorrow and God’s plan:

When we suffer something unpleasant from our best friend, we know that he did not do it intentionally and that he loves us. We must think likewise of God, Who created us, for our sake incarnated, and died for our sake having endured enormous suffering. We must remind ourselves that He does everything from His goodness and from His love for us. We may think that while our friend loves us, in not having sufficient good sense in order to do everything correctly, he therefore involuntarily hurt us. This cannot be said of God because He is the highest wisdom. He knows what is good for us and accordingly, directs everything for our benefit, even in the smallest things. It can also be said that although our friend loves us and is sufficiently sensible, he is powerless to help us. But this certainly cannot be said of God, because to Him everything is possible and nothing is difficult for Him. Consequently, we know that God loves us and shows clemency toward us, that He is eternally wise and omnipotent. Everything that He does, He does for our benefit, and we should accept it with gratitude as from a Benefactor, even though it may appear to be grievous.

That last one is especially deep, and especially difficult to accept. But all the more valuable because of it.

Saint Dorotheus

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One response to “Saturday Saints- #5

  1. Pingback: Saturday Saints- Registry | Donal Graeme

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