In brief, the Desert Mothers were third- and fourth-centry acetic, monastic women who took to the Egyptian desert. They, and the Desert Fathers, often developed a reputation as spiritual teachers. Their wisdom continued as an oral tradition and later set down.
Here are two sayings from particulary well-regarded Mother Syncletica:
Do not let yourself be seduced by the delights of the riches of the world, as though they contained something useful on account of vain pleasure. Worldly people esteem the culinary art, but you, through fasting and thanks to cheap food, go beyond their abundance of food. It is written: “He who is sated loathes honey.” (Prov. 27.7) Do not fill yourself with bread and you will not desire wine.’
She also said, ‘Those who have endured the labours and dangers of the sea and then amass material riches, even when they have gained much desire to gain yet more and they consider what they have at present as nothing and reach out for what they have not got. We, who have nothing of that which we desire, wish to acquire everything through the fear of God.
(Apophthegmata Patrum: The Sayings Of The Desert Fathers, Sr. Benedicta translation)
A LITTLE EASTER MESSAGE OF HOPE
Written to the young people of the Universalist Church by Dr Charles Hall Leonard, Dean Emeritus of Crane Theological School, Tufts College Mass.
An Easter Message — that is what the Easter message ought to be amid the world’s darkness and doubts. How dark soever, Hope ought to shine bright as out of a wide sky.
Easter is a culmination, both in history and in experience. Perhaps the day and what it stands for come as a surprise. We do not find our living Lord amid any early seeking. He has risen, and has gone before. So it is, therefore, that all Christian longing is satisfied, and all Christian need is met. He has gone before. The way is marked by personal leadership, and by recurring power. The wonderful revelation is of the Person; the wonderful growth is personal.
The Easter message is therefore one of light and peace, a word of new intelligence and the comfort of a recurring need.
“Oh day of days: Thou art the Sun of other day.”
[Paul] had a broad vision and a comprehensive grasp, and his thirty years’ ministry as an ambassador of Christ attests his intelligence not less than his zeal. He was grandly equipped for his work, not alone by his exalted faith and consecration, but also by his rare intellectual skill and strength, and his acquisition of wisdom gathered from various sources. But with all his genius and learning he held to one straight course. He preached Christ crucified He believed that the Crucified One would come again to earth, that he would incorporate himself in believing hearts, becoming their inspiration and blessedness. If at the first he seemed to look for this second coming of Christ as an outward manifestation, he soon came to realize its spiritual import and to dwell upon its vitalizing presence within the soul. “Christ liveth in me,” said Paul, “and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God.” * * * “I can do all things through Christ who strengthened me .”
From “The Fullness of Christianity,” by the Rev. Henry W. Rugg: the occasional sermon delivered before the Universalist General Convention, held in Washington, D. C. on October 24, 1883.
It is like a dear home-meal, a family supper, where the Elder and the younger brothers meet around their Father’s table. It is like a farewell meal just before a dear one goes away from home on a perilous journey. The breaking of bread together, the cup of wine together, the beautiful words of remembrance that will stay in their hearts all their lives that will stay in the heart of the world forever.
Wonderful words follow. The promise[of] “many mansions”, the new commandment of love, the new name of friend, the gift of his own peace, the prayer for the “little children’s” safe keeping. Under the sorrow of parting is the joy of returning; with his going away the spirit of truth will come. “It is better tor you that I go.”
The uplifted face seems to smile back into God’s face the voice is tremulous with joy as it whispers, “I go to my Father.”
Maria L. Drew , The Sunday School Helper (1896)
Holy and eternal Spirit, source of life and light, thou art our helper in every need, thou fulfillest all our joy. Be thou this day the present help of all who turn to thee, here and everywhere, whether hurt or ashamed, whether sick or disheartened. And when we are strong, be thou a light beyond our present thoughts and pleasures, to guide us into ways of larger right and nobler blessedness. Amen.
Von Ogden Vogt
The simplest definition of a Christian is one who follows Christ. This was his own definition: “My sheep hear my voice, and follow me.” “I am the way and the truth and the life.” “Come to me, all ye who labor and are heavy laden.” When Mary sat at the feet of Jesus, and heard his words, he said that she had chosen the good part, and had done the one thing needful.
James Freeman Clarke, “The Five Points of Calvinism and the Five Points of the New Theology” in Vexed Questions in Theology: A Series of Essays (1886)
No democracy can be real which shuts out half the people. Women should therefore have equal economic, social and political rights with men.
A Declaration of Social Principles (1917)