Seven Chapters Abba Moses Sent To Abba Poemen

Revised and edited from Give Me a Word: The Alphabetical Sayings of the Desert Fathers, pp. 197-198
trans. John Wortley, SVS Press, ©2014

For delivery from chastisement and the experience of repose in any circumstance


Abba Moses said: A person must die to his companion not to judge him in anything.


Abba Moses said: A person must kill every evil within himself before departing from the body, and wrong no one.


Abba Moses said: If practice is not in accordance with prayer, labor is vain.

A brother asked: What is agreement between practice and prayer?

Abba Moses said: No longer to do the things we pray about. When somebody abandons his desires, God is reconciled with him and receives his prayer.


A brother asked: In toiling, what help is there?

Abba Moses said: God helps, as it is written: God is our refuge and strength, a powerful help against the afflictions that find us.


A brother asked: Why do we toil with fasts and vigils?

Abba Moses said: Fasts and vigils cause the soul to be humbled, as it is written: Behold my abasement and my toil, and forgive all my sins. Seeing the person endure these things, God has compassion and makes the soul fruitful.


A brother asked: What is a person to do with every temptation he encounters or with every sinful thought stirred from within by the evil one?

Abba Moses said: Weep and present himself to God who is merciful that He might help him. If he intercedes intelligently, soon he will experience repose, as it is written: The Lord is my helper and I shall not fear.


A brother asked: When a person is beating his slave for a sin he committed, what shall the slave say?

Abba Moses said: A good slave will say "Have mercy on me for I have sinned."

The brother asked: He says nothing else?

Abba Moses said: No. When he blames himself from the very start, saying I have sinned the master immediately has compassion on him.

A brother asked: What does it mean: When the hand of the Lord killed all the first born in the land of Egypt and there was not a house in which no one had died?

Abba Moses said: If we took the trouble to see our own sins, we would not see the sins of a neighbor. It is folly for a person who is caring for their own dead to leave and go weep for the dead of his neighbor.

To die to your neighbor is to carry your sins.

This is what it is to judge not.

This is what it is to be at peace.

Silence, console yourself, hear: By the grace of the divine Word, the time for labor is short, following which is repose for eternity.


Moses the Black or Ethiopian