Practical Teaching on the Christian Life by Abba Dorotheos
Published by Athens University, 2002.
The book, Practical Teaching on the Christian Life by Abba Dorotheos details the life and wisdom of this grace-filled desert Father.
Abba Dorotheos lived in Gaza Palestine during the 6th century. He denied himself many worldly pleasures out of his greater love for Christ, and became a magnet for those who sought guidance on how to improve their spiritual life.
Seventeen of his practical teachings have been published in this book. Of paramount importance to the Abba was the need for humility, for no other virtue could be obtained without it: “We need humility more than anything else, to be ready to say ‘Forgive’ whenever anything is said to us.”
The Abba also wrote letters to disciples, monks and lay people who were in need of his spiritual guidance. The book contains sixteen of these letters. In one letter to a brother beset by temptations the Abba writes: “Reproach yourself, be patient and pray”. The last section of the book has some brief sayings loaded with practical advice such as how to deal with our neighbour: “Do not demand love from your neighbour. The demander is disturbed if he is not answered. Rather, show your love for your neighbour and comfort him, and thus, bring your neighbour to love you.”
The greatest appeal of this book is the universal application of what is taught regardless of year or geographical location. Abba Dorotheos as an early Elder of our Church lived a Christ-like existence, and sought to highlight the pitfalls he encountered on this journey, so that we would not make the same mistakes and succumb to the snares of the evil one. Upon reading this book there are two questions (1) are these teachings being genuinely applied on a daily basis (2) If not, what are we waiting for?
Source: December-January 2015 Lychnos Edition