A Word from the Desert Abba Macarius the Great said to the brothers at Scetis, when he dismissed the assembly, ‘Flee, my brothers.’ One of the old men asked him, ‘Where could we flee to beyond the desert?’ He put his finger on his lips and said, ‘Flee that,’ and he went into his cell, shut the door and sat down.”1 Reflection Abba Macarius shushed … Continue reading Lent with the Desert Fathers: Fasting From Words
A Word from the Desert “A brother came to see Abba Macarius the Egyptian, and said to him, ‘Abba, give me a word, that I may be saved.’ So the old man said, ‘Go to the cemetery and abuse [insult] the dead.’ The brother went there, abused [insulted] them and threw stones at them; then he returned and told the old man about it. The … Continue reading Lent with the Desert Fathers: Detaching From Another’s Scorn or Praise
A Word From the Desert “The same Abba Agathon was walking with his disciples. One of them, finding a small green pea on the road, said to the old man, ‘Father, may I take it?’ The old man, looking at him with astonishment, said, ‘Was it you who put it there?’ ‘No,’ replied the brother. ‘How then,’ continued the old man, ‘can you take up … Continue reading Lent with the Desert Fathers: Is it Yours?
A Word From the Desert Abba Zosimos said, “In time, through neglect, we lose even the little fervor that we suppose we have in our ascetic renunciation. We become attached to useless, insignificant, and entirely worthless matters, substituting these for the love of God and neighbor, appropriating material things as if they were our own or as if we had not received them from God. ‘What do … Continue reading Lent with the Desert Fathers: Detachment and Simplicity
A Word from the Desert “Abba Joseph asked Abba Poeman: ‘How should one fast?’ And Abba Poeman said: ‘For my part I think it is better that one should eat every day, but only a little, so as not to be satisfied.’ Abba Joseph said to him, ‘When you were younger, did you not fast two days at a time, abba?’ The old man said: … Continue reading Lent with the Desert Fathers: How Should One Fast?
Each Friday through Lent I will be posting about a particular aspect of the practices of fasting and simplicity as seen through the lens of the desert tradition. The posts will include a saying from the desert fathers, a reflection on that saying, suggestions for applying the saying to our lives, and a prayer. This series of posts was originally written for and included in … Continue reading Lent with the Desert Fathers: A Series on Fasting and Simplicity
“I should be doing more,” she said. “I want to do more but I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what God wants me to do. What is God’s will for my life?” That’s how our conversation began. Her questions and statements are more than familiar to me. I have heard them or variations of them many times before. I have asked and … Continue reading Called to Become God: The Human Vocation
The 14th century Sufi poet and mystic, Rumi, wrote, “Return to the root of the root of yourself.”¹ His words remind me that I often live on the periphery or circumference of life, disconnected from the root of my being and existence. To “return to the root of the root” of myself means returning to myself, becoming more fully human, and entering the deep heart. … Continue reading Silence, the Way Home
The collect and readings for the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany, Year B, may be found here. The following sermon is based on Mark 1:29-39 Everyone loves it when Jesus shows up. His presence makes a difference. Things happen. Mother-in-laws are healed. The sick are cured. Demons are cast out. Lives are changed. This is true not only for the people of Capernaum in Jesus’ time … Continue reading Searching for Jesus – A Sermon on Mark 1:29-39, Epiphany 5B
Abba Poeman said… A man may seem to be silent, but if his heart is condemning others he is babbling ceaselessly. But there may be another who talks from morning till night and yet he is truly silent; that is, he says nothing that is not profitable. (p. 171) If you are silent, you will have peace wherever you live. (p. 178) A brother who … Continue reading Abba Poeman on Silence