the teachings of Saint Dorotheus, abbot
On false spiritual peace
he man who finds fault with
himself accepts all things cheerfullymisfortune, loss, disgrace, dishonor
and any other kind of adversity. He believes that he is deserving of all
these things and nothing can disturb him. No one could be more at peace than
But perhaps you will offer me
this objection: Suppose my brother injures me, and on examining myself
I find that I have not given him any cause. Why should I
Certainly if someone examines
himself carefully and with fear of God, he will never find himself completely
innocent. He will see that he has given some provocation by an action, a
word, or by his manner. If he does find that he is not guilty in any of these
ways, certainly he must have injured that brother somehow at some other time.
Or perhaps he has been a source of annoyance to some other brother. For this
reason he deserves to endure the injury because of many other sins that he
has committed on other occasions.
Someone else asks why he should
accuse himself when he was sitting peacefully and quietly when a brother
came upon him with an unkind or insulting word. He cannot tolerate it, and
so he thinks that his anger is justified. If that brother had not approached
him and said those words and upset him, he never would have
This kind of thinking is surely
ridiculous and has no rational basis. For the fact that he has said anything
at all in this situation breaks the cover on the passionate anger within
him, which is all the more exposed by his excessive anxiety. If he wished,
he would do penance. He has become like a clean, shiny grain of wheat that,
when broken, is full of dirt inside.
The man who thinks that he is
quiet and peaceful has within him a passion that he does not see. A brother
comes up, utters some unkind word and immediately all the venom and mire
that lie hidden within him are spewed out. If he wishes mercy, he must do
penance, purify himself and strive to become perfect. [In this scrutiny] he
will see that he should have returned thanks to his brother instead of returning
the injury, because his brother has proven to be an occasion of profit to him.
[If he continues this process] it will not be long before he will no longer be
bothered by these temptations. The more perfect he grows, the less these
temptations will affect him. For the more the soul advances, the stronger and
more powerful it becomes in bearing the difficulties that it meets.
Saint Dorotheus, abbot
(Office of Readings,
Tuesday of the Ninth Week of Ordinary Time)
1. Blame, in this sense, means to scrutinize
yourself for any unconscious anger that you might
be carrying from your psychological past.