"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

The simple life

"When Macarius was living in Egypt, one day he came across a man who had brought a donkey to his cell and was stealing his possessions.  As though he was a passer-by who did not live there, he went up to the thief and helped him to load the beast, and sent him peacefully on his way, saying to himself, 'We brought nothing into this world (1 Tim. 6:7) but the Lord gave; as he willed, so it is done: blessed be the Lord in all things."

"The desert fathers saw themselves as poor men and sinners in need of mercy, as those who were not strong enough to endure the friction of worldly life."

"They lived alone, or with disciples living nearby.  At the beginning this was a way of life largely uninstructed by theological reflection.  These men were ordinary Christians, most were neither clerics or scholars; they were laymen, uneducated peasants... who chose to live out their evangelical commitment... in great simplicity." - Text loosely gathered from The Desert Fathers, Benedicta Ward.

Art: Ladder - Gregor Ziolkowski


  1. "The desert fathers saw themselves as poor men and sinners in need of mercy, as those who were not strong enough to endure the friction of worldly life."

    I feel this way sometimes, and in certain periods more intensely and continuously.

    The thought, though, of 'retreating' somehow away from "worldly life" - I don't think I've ever imagined it more creatively than going to a monastery - seems to depress me.

    I feel more 'alive' in the midst of "worldly life," even as much as I feel out of step with it so often. Though I believe this is important, I don't think I experience something as exalted as a call to "witness" in the world; it doesn't seem to resonate with me, though it is what I feel left with and I wonder if I just need to enter into it more deeply and embrace it.

    It is a question of identity and purpose and I'm amazed I suppose by how clear answers seem to be impossible to reach.

    It all just appears to me to be worthless to God sometimes, though I don't ultimately believe it is.

  2. Oh to be so detached from your stuff that you would help the thief load up your belongings and take them away. It would take several moving van "donkeys" to do the job at my "cell."

    Funny, though, I've never felt more free than when I was in jail (for rescuing babies at abortion mills) with nothing more than a change of underwear, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a tin cup, a Bible, and a rosary.

    So why am I still afraid of losing it all? Lack of trust, I think. I trust, Lord, help Thou my lack of trust.


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.