Abba Amoun of Nitria: Is Your Conversation Worldly?

Feast of St Gregory the Wonderworker & Bishop of Neo-Caesarea

Desert_Father_Square_4.jpegIT WAS SAID of Abba Amoun that a very small quantity of wheat every two months was sufficient for him. Now he went to find Abba Poemen and said to him, “When I go to my neighbor’s cell, or when he comes to mine for some need or other, we are afraid of entering into conversation, for fear of slipping into worldly subjects.” The old man replied, “You are right, for young men need to be watchful.” Then Abba Amoun continued, “But the old men, what do they do?” He replied, “The old men who have advanced in virtue, have nothing in them that is worldly; there is nothing worldly in their mouths of which they could speak.” “But,” Amoun replied, “When I am obliged to speak to my neighbor, do you prefer me to speak of the Scriptures or of the sayings of the Fathers?” The old man answered him, “If you can’t be silent, you had better talk about the sayings of the Fathers than about the Scriptures; it is not so dangerous.”

—Abba Amoun of Nitria, Sayings of the Desert Fathers

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