Christianity in the Desert
Wednesday, September 5, 2018
The desert may initially seem barren, dull, and colorless, but eventually our perceptions start to change. . . . Here we empty ourselves of our own obstacles to God. In the space of this emptiness, we encounter the enormity of God’s presence. . . . The aromas teach us that the desert becomes the place of a mature repentance and conversion toward transformation into true radical freedom. 
~Laura Swan, The Forgotten Desert Mothers: S ayings, Lives, and Stories of Early Christian Women (Paulist Press: 2001), 168.
…one wonders if a desert experience is necessary to reclaim this legacy.
Today’s wilderness can be found in bustling suburban and urban centers,
on death row,
in homeless shelters in the middle of the night, in the eyes of a hospice patient, and in the desperation of AIDS orphans in Africa and around the world.
Perhaps these are the postmodern desert mothers and fathers.
Perhaps contemplative spaces can be found wherever people skirt the margins of inclusion.
Perhaps those whom we value least have the most to teach.
apatheia, defined as
“a mature mindfulness,
a grounded sensitivity, and
a keen attention to one’s inner world as well as to
the world in which one has journeyed.”
listening to the silence coming from within.
During these times, we realize that
CONTEMPLATION is a destination as well as a practice.
The monastics knew this and Valued both.