The Desert in Lent

“The Desert: An Anthology for Lent” by John Moses [Morehouse Publishing, 1997
The desert, with its great emptiness and silence, has long been a symbol of solitude. In our spiritual lives, we sometimes seek such isolation as a means of abandoning ourselves completely to God. At other times, solitude comes upon us uninvited and unwelcome, as we find ourselves totally alone and desolate. In facing the silence and the vast expanses of loneliness, we test our courage, deepen our faith, and hear the voice of God anew. This book explores the tradition and relevance of desert spirituality in the life and worship of the church today and offers a collection of pertinent writings by these and many other ancient and contemporary authors: Thomas a Kempis, Mother Mark Clare, Henri Nouwen, Rene Voillaume, Charles de Foucauld, Thomas Merton, R. S. Thomas.

“The author is the dynamic new Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, whose predecessors include such literary giants as John Donne. First, he tells us the story of the Desert Fathers who retreated to the wilderness in the fourth and fifth centuries when the Emperor Constantine’s establishment of Christianity severely watered down the faith. He does this with a simple style, avoiding complex unpronounceable verbiage. When he has introduced us to the spirituality of the desert, to the use of solitude, he then gives the reader daily soul food to chew on. It can be used for personal devotion or as a small group study resource.” — The Living Church

“The desert is never an end in itself. It is a time of preparation, of testing, of transition. The long years of the exodus lead from slavery to freedom. The disciplines of prayer and study and fasting have always counted for much in the desert tradition. These ascetical disciplines have been concerned from the beginning to bring under control the appetites of the flesh and to focus the mind on the things of God. But there lies beyond all these spiritual disciplines the vision of a life that is set free and restored and renewed. [St. Irenaeus says:]‘The glory of God is a man or woman who is truly alive.’” (p.20-21)
john moses
John Moses, KCVO, was the Dean of St Paul’s from November 1996 until his retirement on 31 August 2006. In 2013, Moses was appointed as the John Macquarrie Professor of Anglican Theology at Graduate Theological Foundation in Mishawaka, Indiana.

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