Sayings of the Fathers: Arsenios (4)

It’s been a while, but here I continue my translation of the Apophthegmata Patrum, the Alphabetical Series, with Abba Arsenios, from right where we left off. The first one, number 38, is particularly striking. Enjoy!

38. They say about one of the brothers who came to Skete to see Abba Arsenios, that, going to the church, he asked of the clerics to visit Abba Arsenios. So they said to him, Rest a little, brother, and you will see him. But he said, I will not eat anything, if I have not gone to him. So they sent a brother to bring him, for his cell was far. And having knocked at the door, they entereed, and greeting the elder, they sat down in silence. So the brother from the church said, I will leave. Pray for me. And the foreign brother, not finding confidence before the elder, said to the brother, I also will go with you. And they left together. Then he asked him, saying, Take me also to Abba Moses of the robbers. And when they went to him, he greeted them with joy, and sent them away with kindness. And the brother who brought him said to him, Behold, I have brought you to the foreigner and to the Egyptian. Which of the two was pleasing to you? And answering, he said, Up to now, the Egyptian was pleasing to me. And one of the Fathers, hearing this, prayed to God, saying, Lord, explain to me this matter, that one flees because of Your Name, and the other easily embraces because of your name. And behold, there was shown to him two great boats on the river, and he sees Abba Arsenios and the Spirit of God sailing in stillness (ησυχια) in one, and Abba Moses and the Angels of God sailing in the other, and they were feeding him pieces of honeycomb.

39. Abba Daniel said that when Abba Arsenios was nearly finished [=near death], he sent to them, saying, Do not think to make love offerings (αγαπας) for me. For I have indeed made for myself a love offering. I will find it.

40. When Abba Arsenios was near finishing, his disciples were troubled. And he said to them, The hour has not yet come; but when the hour comes, I will tell you. I will have to be judged with you at the judgment seat of terror if you give my remains to anyone. And they said, So what will we do, who don’t know how to entomb? And the elder said to them, Don’t you know how to tie a rope to my feet and drag me to the mountain? And this was a saying of the elder: Aresenios, why have you gone out? Much regretting speaking, but never silence. And when his end was near, the brothers saw him weeping, and said to him, In truth, do you too fear, Father? And he said to them, In truth, the fear that is now with me in this hour, is the same with me since I became a monk. And thus he fell asleep.

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