A Reflection on a Saying of a Desert Christian: Abba Moses the Black

“In case we should ever fall into carnal sin,” Abba Moses told his disciples, “let us repent and let us mourn now before the lamentation of our dread condemnation prevents us.”

Certainly, the Desert Christians took the concept of carnal sin much more seriously than we do today.  Carnal sin was taken very seriously for a long time in history.  Carnal sin was not just about sex, although I suppose that’s the first thing we think of here in our modern times.

Carnal sin also means any misuse of the body and the appetites such that it makes the use of the body and fulfilling of the appetites as more important than God. In other words, it’s a form of idolatry.  Any time we make something in our lives more important than God we commit idolatry.

I think Abba Moses is telling us that if we think it through now, if we understand now how serious a sin it is to place something in God’s place, then we develop habits which make God first in our lives.

That’s what this Saying says to me.  What does it say to you?


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