Becoming Fire: Words To Live By
Tim Vivian (Editor) “Becoming Fire: Through the Year with the Desert Fathers and Mothers” [Cistercian Studies, 2009]
“The insights of the desert monks of the fifth and sixth centuries amaze, and startle, readers by their wisdom. Among other things, they teach that the first step in overcoming our sinfulness is an honest perception of things as they are.” By arranging these “words” in short Daly readings, Tim Vivian invites modern readers to savor the monks’ advice, as did those who collected these sayings, rather than dismiss them as a fascinating but irrelevant bit of history.
Tim Vivian is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at California State University, Bakersfield. He is the author of numerous books and articles on early Christian monasticism, including “The Life of Antony” (with Apostolos N. Athanassakis) and “Words to Live By: Journeys in Ancient and Modern Egyptian Monasticism”, both published by Cistercian Publications.”
Tim Vivian “Words To Live By: Journeys in Ancient and Modern Egyptian Monasticism” [Cistercian Studies, 2005]
“Give me a word, Father. From the time of Saint Antony ‘at least ‘younger monks would ask older, experienced monks, abbas or ammas ( ‘fathers ‘ or ‘mothers ‘), for a saving word, for advice, for wise counsel on how to live. In this book, Coptic scholar and priest Tim Vivian shares personal accounts of journeys to present-day monasteries in Egypt, and translations of ancient texts exemplifying the ‘words, ‘ the insights that have guided desert monks for nearly two millennia. Those who study the monastic tradition professionally and those who search it spiritually will find matter for reflection here.”
Tim Vivian and Apostolos N. Athanassakis “Athanasius of Alexandria: The Life of Antony” [Cistercian Studies, 2005]
“Instrumental in the conversion of many, including Augustine, The Life of Antony provided the model for subsequent saints’ life and constituted, in the words of patristics scholar Johannes Quasten, ‘the most important document of early monasticism.’”
David G.R. Keller “Desert Banquet: A Year of Wisdom from the Desert Mothers and Fathers” [Liturgical Press, 2011]
“The wisdom of the desert fathers and mothers lies in their experiences of solitude, prayer, community life, work, and care for their neighbors. Their goal was transformation of their lives through openness to the presence and energy of God in Christ. They taught by example and by sharing narratives and sayings that reflect the deep human psychological and spiritual aspects of their journey toward authentic human life. The venue for their transformation was the whole person ‘body, mind, and spirit. They emphasized self-knowledge, humility, purity of heart, and love of God and neighbor. Far from being naïve, their sayings and narratives reflect honest struggles, temptations, and failures. They also demonstrate the disciplines of prayer and meditation that kept them centered in God as their only source of strength.
The daily reflections in “Desert Banquet” introduce readers to a variety of these early Christian mentors and offer reflections on the significance of their wisdom for life in the twenty-first century.”