October 22, 2014

The Sayings of Abba Rufus

Abba Rufus was an early desert father who reposed in peace. He is commemorated by the Orthodox Church on October 22nd. The following sayings are attributed to him in the Paradise of the Fathers:

1. A brother asked Abba Rufus, 'What is interior quietude, and what use is it?' The old man said, 'Interior quietude means to remain sitting in one's cell with fear and knowledge of God, holding far off the remembrance of wrongs suffered and pride of spirit. Such interior quietude brings forth all the virtues, preserves the monk from the burning darts of the enemy, and does not allow him to be wounded by them. Yes, brother, acquire it. Keep in mind your future death, remembering that you do not know at what hour the thief will come. Likewise be watchful over your soul.'

2. Abba Rufus said, 'He who remains sitting at the feet of his spiritual father receives a greater reward than he who lives alone in the desert.'

He added that one of the Fathers said, 'I have seen four orders in heaven: in the first order is the sick man who gives thanks to God; in the second, the man who observes hospitality and for that reason, gets up to serve; in the third, the man who crosses the desert without seeing anyone; in the fourth, the man who obeys his Father and remains in submission to him for the Lord's sake. The one who was living in submission was wearing a chain of gold and a shield and had greater glory than the others. I said to him who was guiding me, "Why does the one who is least have more glory than the others?" He answered me, "He who practices hospitality acts according to his own will; but the last one possesses obedience. Having abandoned all his desires, he depends on God and his own Father; it is because of this that he has received more glory than the others."

See, my child, how good obedience is when it is undertaken for the Lord. You have partly understood the elements of this virtue, my children. O obedience, salvation of the faithful! O obedience, mother of all the virtues! O obedience, discloser of the kingdom! O obedience, opening the heavens, and making men to ascend there from earth! O obedience, food of all the saints, whose milk they have sucked, through you they have become perfect! O obedience, companion of the angels!'