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It was said of Abba Isidore the Priest that one day a brother came to invite him to a meal.  But the old man refused to go, saying, “Adam was deceived by food and had to live outside Paradise.”  The brother said to him, “Are you so afraid to leave your cell?”  The other responded, “My child, I am afraid because the devil, like a roaring lion, seeketh whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8). He often said, “When someone fives himself a drink, he will not escape being attacked by thoughts.  lot, indeed, being constrained by his daughters, got drunk with wine, and through the effect of drunkenness, the devil easily brought him to a shameful act of fornication.”

Abba Isidore said, “If you truly desire the kingdom of heaven, despise riches and respond to divine favours.”

He also said, “It is impossible for you to live according to God if you love pleasures and money.”

He also said, “If you fast regularly, do not be inflated with pride, but if you think highly of yourself because of it, then you had better eat meat.  It is better for a man to eat meat than to be inflated with pride and to glorify himself.”

He also said, “Disciples must love as their fathers those who are truly their masters and fear them as their leaders; they should not lose their fear because of love, nor because of fear should love be obscured.”

He also said, “If you desire salvation, do everything that leads you to it.”

It was said of abba Isidore that when a brother went to see him, he would escape to the furthest corner of his cell.  The brethren said to him, “Abba, what are you doing?”  He said, “Even the wild animals, when they flee to their lairs, are saved.”  He said this for the edification of the brethren.


Excerpt from The Sayings of the Desert Fathers translated by Benedicta Ward, SLG. Published by Cistercian Publications in Trappist, KY 1984.