Desert Fathers and Mothers

Prodigal’s been blogging a bit about desert spirituality over at: Prodigal Kiwi Blog: Another Desert Story.

The spirituality of the desert fathers and mothers has interested me since I was introduced to it in a Christian spirituality paper a few years ago. In one particular exercise our lecturer had pinned various sayings from them around the room (with each one having an image attached to them). For an hour or so we wandered from saying to saying until we found one we wanted to meditate upon and then sat or stood by that one.

I’ve also used their sayings when introducing people to different types of prayers. In a similar fashion I pinned a wide range of prayers around a large room and had people move about them reading and thinking about their content and style. Some desert sayings were included along with Kiwi psalms, various prayers from the NZ Prayer Book and other sources from around the world.

I often come back to the desert fathers and mothers. Just flicking through, seeing something, reading, thinking and then moving on. In some ways it’s a journey into an alien environment and in other ways it connects deeply. And it’s the short, pithy stories of real life and faith. This saying has always struck me from sayings about prayer.

Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and he said to him, “Abba, as far as I can, I say my little office, I fast a little, I pray and meditate, I live in peace and as far as I can I purify my thoughts. What else can I do?” Then the old man stood up and streched his hands toward heaven; his fingers became like ten lamps of fire and he said to him, “If you will, you can become all flame.”

If you hunt on the net then there are various collections of sayings, information and images out there on desert spirituality. (Search with Yahoo rather than Google as the Google search seemed to index bookshops for the first 100 entries).

Pray, meditate, feed, rest.

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One Response to Desert Fathers and Mothers

  1. maggi says:

    Hi Stephen – been trying to trackback your entry and can’t figure out the html or something… will sort it out soon! Meantime thanks for the links

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