Wednesday, September 7, 2011

St. Syncletica on Illness & Joy

St. Syncletica of Alexandria is one of the holy Desert Mothers of the 4th century.  (She is often referred to as Mother, or "Amma" Syncletica).   You can read about her life on the website of the Antiochian Archdiocese.  Here is one of her sayings:

"She also said, 'If illness weighs us down, let us not be sorrowful as though, because of illness and the prostration of our bodies we could not sing, for all these things are for our good, for the purification of our desires.  Truly fasting and sleeping on the ground are set before us because of our sensuality.  If illness then weakens this sensuality the reason for these practices is superfluous.  For this is the great asceticism: to control oneself in illness and to sing hymns of thanksgiving to God.'"

The Sayings of the Desert Fathers, trans. by Benedicta Ward (Trappist, KY: Cistercian Publications, 1984), 232.