The Balance of the Heart

balance heart“Desert spirituality speaks to the mind and heart. It is a spirituality that helps us balance our work and daily obligations and figure out our priorities and the place of God in our lives. Desert spirituality addresses our most intimate thoughts and helps us analyze the roots of our spiritual setbacks. Its essence is to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind (Matt 22:37). Starting in fourth-century Egypt, desert spirituality has become a global phenomenon. It has endured through the centuries because it is practical and simple; it tells us how to live out Scripture in our daily lives. It is also profound; it is deeply rooted in the theology of the incarnation and the renewal of creation by the resurrection. The desert fathers and mothers left us short wisdom sayings, revealing their inner experience in their long journey toward being with God. They speak about Scripture and prayer, but also about how to love our neighbors, discern our thoughts, and evaluate our daily activities. Come, learn from these desert dwellers as they teach us about the examination of thoughts, the discernment of the soul, and the balance of the heart.
Endorsements: The desert fathers and mothers took to the margins of society to refocus our attention on what really matters. They expressed radical lifestyles so their experiences could bear fruit. They renounced everything in order to learn how to love everyone. And they went to extremes to restore the balance of the heart. This book is another reminder of their relevance and importance in every age, especially ours. –John Chryssavgis, author of “In the Heart of the Desert”
Farag is correct when she says that through ‘presentation of the inner spiritual experience of the desert fathers and mothers the reader will discover they are closer to us than we think.’ The great virtue of The Balance of the Heart is how Farag focuses our attention on the ipsissima verba, the very words, of the desert mothers and fathers. Early monastic spirituality is alive and well, and even life-changing, in this book. I highly recommend it. –Tim Vivian, Co-director, Institute for Religion, Education, & Public Policy (IREPP)”
Lois Farag joined Luther Seminary in 2005 as assistant professor of Early Church History. Previously she served as adjunct faculty at Ecumenical Institute of Theology, St. Mary’s Seminary and University, Baltimore, Md., Trinity College, Washington, D.C., and full time faculty at Loyola University Maryland, Baltimore, Md.
Farag received the bachelor of science degree from the American University in Cairo, Egypt, in 1977. She earned her master of divinity from Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, Mass., in 1997 and her doctorate from the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., in 2003. She also studied as a research fellow at the Institute of Christian Oriental Research, Washington, D.C.
A monastic of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Farag is a frequent lecturer. She authored St. Cyril of Alexandria, A New Testament Exegete: His Commentary on the Gospel of John. Gorgias Press, 2007, and Balance of the Heart, Desert Spirituality of Twenty-First Century Christians, Cascade Publishing, 2012.
She is a member of the North American Patristics Society, American Academy of Religion, Society of Biblical Literature, The Models of Piety in Late Antiquity Research Group.


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