Sunday, March 27, 2011

the wisdom of the desert

Abbot Lot came to Abbot Joseph and said: Father, according as I am able, I keep my little rule, and my little fast, my prayer, meditation and contemplative silence; and according as I am able I strive to cleanse my heart of thoughts: now what more should I do? The elder rose up in reply and stretched out his hands to heaven, and his fingers became like ten lamps of fire. He said: Why not be totally changed into fire?

The Wisdom of the Desert

I have been reading about the Desert Fathers, thanks to Richard Rohr. This particular volume is a personal selection made by Thomas Merton. It was not uncommon that a Brother would make a diary or journal of sorts full of the sayings that spoke to him personally.

Each of the recorded sayings was meaningful in a context. The Father who spoke was addressing a particular person on a specific issue or topic. Often, he was asked for "a word" to encourage, support, or teach the younger brother. So, of course, not all of the sayings speak to everyone. (This, I believe, is also true of Scripture--that there is a context that today has been forgotten...or never some of those who use the Word to their own ends.)

You will see and hear more of these here. And maybe I'll find more to say than I have lately.

I love the mystical experience of the Brothers in the Desert. I love how they sequester themselves with the Beloved.

Why not be changed into fire? I mean...really.


Deb Shucka said...

Great question. Wonderful story. Wouldn't you love to hear Richard Rohr in person?

Kathryn Grace said...

And does one sense a bit of frustration on the part of the elder friar? (Chuckling)