St Pachomius: Do You Recite the Words of God

Feast of St Pachomius the Great

Pachomius_Square.jpgRECITE CONSTANTLY the words of God. Put up with fatigue and be grateful for everything (1 Thes. 5.18). Shun the praise of men and love the one who, in the fear of the Lord, reprimands you. Let every man be profitable to you so that you may be good to everyone. Persevere in your work, and in language be above reproach. Do not take one step forward, then a step backward, that God may not detest you; for the crown shall go to the one who perseveres. Be ever more obedient to God, and He will save you.

When you are among brothers, do not indulge in jesting. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego disregarded the jeering of Nebuchadnezzar, and therefore he could not draw them off by the melodies of his instruments or seduce them with the meals at his table. So they put out the flame that climbed forty-nine cubits high (Dan. 3.46-50). They did not turn crooked with the crooked, but stayed upright with the upright One, that is to say, with God. For this reason, He made them masters of their enemies. Daniel, in his turn, did not obey the evil reasonings of the Chaldeans. So he was specially chosen and found vigilant and prudent, and he closed the gullet of savage lions (Heb. 11.33).

And now, my son, if you take God as your hope, He will be your help in the time of your anguish; for anyone who comes to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who search for Him (Heb. 11.6). These words were written for us, that we may believe in God and do battle, great and little, by fastings, prayers, and other religious practices. God will not forget even the saliva that has dried in your mouth as a result of fasting. On the contrary, everything will be returned to you at the moment of your anguish. Only humble yourself in all things, hold back your word even if you understand the whole affair. Do not quietly acquire the habit of abusing; on the contrary, joyfully put up with every trial. For if you knew the honor that results from trials you would not pray to be delivered from them, because it is preferable for you to pray, to weep, and to sigh until you are saved, rather than to relax and be led off a captive. O man, what are you doing in Babylon? You have grown old in an alien land because you did not submit to the test and because your relations with God are not proper. Therefore, brother, you must not relax.

—St Pachomius, The Instructions

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