All in Lenten Retreat

The alphabet of the Spirit: A conversation with Evagrius Ponticus

Three hundred years after the death of Jesus on the outskirts of Jerusalem and 1,000 kilometers away, the habitable margins of the deserts of Egypt were filling up with strange people devoted to becoming more like him.  The eldest and most revered of these are called the Desert Elders.  Most were native Egyptian villagers and peasants who left their villages and farms to enter the desert and follow more seriously the way of Christ.  They were mostly poor, not well educated, and of lower social class.   Their language was Coptic, with its roots in the ancient agriculture of the Nile. 

Walking with the Desert Elders through Lent: An invitation

The deep origins of Christianity are in the desert. It was an urban and pastoral culture on the edge of the desert into which Jesus was born. When he was baptized, Jesus was driven to walk into the desert for 40 days of fasting and reflection.  The origins of monasticism came from Christians walking into the desert, away from the distractions and comfort of urban society.  This Lent, we will be reflecting on the spiritual journeys and wisdom of those desert Elders.  What knowledge can these gentle and severe extremists bring us for our own life journeys?