The Dessert Father
Did you ever have a hard time remembering the difference in spelling between ‘desert’ (a very dry place) and ‘dessert’ (a scrumptious thing to eat)? More importantly, we need to know the difference in meaning for our Lenten journey. Is our journey in the ‘dessert’, our wayward passions, or the ‘desert’, real mortification of the physical and spiritual senses? It is easy to miss this opportunity where collectively, the Church considers a renewal of the meaning or our Baptism and what it is to be immersed in Christ. Immersion in Christ, the Word made flesh, entails a transformation of our relationship to the created world because through His life, death and resurrection, Jesus has connected us with the Divine Holy Trinity, uncreated God who exists outside of time and space.
As I write this I am packing to go on retreat to Marymount Hermitage (see http://www.marymount-hermitage.org/ for information and a few pictures). I’ll be leaving before you read this article (March 28th) and returning this week (April 6th). I hope to experience the word of the Lord through Hosea which is on the Marymount website, “I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart.” (Hosea 2:16) While this word in scripture is first meant for Israel, it also applies to each one of us. God desires to speak tenderly to us. For that purpose we all need some solitude in our lives. As Jesus said to his disciples, “Come aside awhile to a deserted place and rest.” (Mark 6:30-31)
One of my favorite books is a collection called The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (Cistercian Studies 59). It in are some great gems like:
A certain brother went to Abbot Moses in Scete, and asked him for a good word. And the elder said to him: Go, sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything.
Abbot Macarius said: If, wishing to correct another, you are moved to anger, you gratify your own passion. Do not lose yourself in order to save another.
A monk ran into a party of handmaids of the Lord on a certain journey. Seeing them he left the road and gave them a wide berth. But the Abbess said to him: If you were a perfect monk, you would not even have looked close enough to see that we were women.
Prayer, patience, and purity, virtues that we all need. No need to go to the desert to obtain them, but solitude of some kind can be very helpful, if not essential. Lock yourself in the bathroom if necessary. We all need a little space at times to think with the mind of Christ and give God a chance to inform us. May this Lenten Season continue to give us opportunities for refreshment of soul in solitude and silence.
Class on Iconography by Deacon Joseph and Carolyn Garner
Instead of my normal Catechism Class on Wednesday evening, April 6th, Deacon Joseph Kaiser of the Melkite Rite will do a presentation on the theology and spirituality of Iconography. Carolyn Garner will also be present to answer questions on her own experience of writing our new Crucifixion Icon in the chapel. All are welcome. Mass is at 6:30pm, followed by snacks in the narthex and class in the chapel at 7:30pm. Please come and learn more about the beautiful prayer tradition of Eastern Christians.
In My Prayers
Your intentions remain in my prayers. Out of sight does not mean out of mind. Please keep me in yours. Hope to see you April 6th for Mass, fellowship, and wisdom.
"In silence and quiet the devout soul advances in virtue and learns the hidden truths of Scripture." - Imitation of Christ
- ▼ March (5)