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adesertmonkBetween conflicting stories on broadcast news and devastating weather reports of raging fires in the west and three additional hurricanes brewing in the waters off the southeastern coast of the United States, I decided moments ago that the only answer for me would be to race to the closest monastery and close the door on it all. So I pulled out David Keller’s book, Oasis of Wisdom, to give me something to work with – a verification of the need to escape, I mean. Here’s what I found in the first few pages of this book on the early Christian monastic life, stories of the “desert fathers and mothers.”

The desert elders did not teach that everyone must live as they lived. They taught, by their actions, that purity of heart, humility and charity are virtues that lie at the heart of all human life. Their renunciations, practical wisdom, and prayerful living taught people from all walks of life in their day to see themselves and the way they lived in the context of God’s love and desires for human life. Perhaps the desert elders will evoke a change of consciousness in us as well. They exhort us to practice an interiorized monasticism whether or not we are monks. From its earliest days, Christianity has proclaimed that the heart of monastic life is for all Christians…One of its greatest leaders, St. John Chrysostom said…”You are entirely mistaken if you think there are some things required of ordinary people and others of monks.” 

So I guess I need to stay the course here and ride out the events that agitate my mind and heart. Perhaps the crux of the answer was at the beginning of the above paragraph. Purity of heart, humility and charity are not easy right now but renouncing all the outer turmoil by consistent prayerfulness might help. Actually, it might be the ticket to the wisdom found in staying the course.