Desert/Wilderness

September 11, 2019

“When we sit prayerfully in silence and solitude we are entering the desert, our desert. In this sacred space, the goal is not to hide from others, devoid of pain, or to hold ourselves apart from and above the community in which we live. It is to receive the grace to learn to face ourselves directly so we can learn to live ordinariness, to live ethically and generously with others.” (Robert J. Wicks)

 

“The Russian word, “Poustinia”, means “desert”, and the importance of the poustinia to the inner life can not be dismissed. If we are to hear the voice of God speaking to us, we must listen to His silence. If we are to learn to hear His voice, we must learn to be silent. Without recollection and silence, the inner life is impossible, and we will not make spiritual progress. The desert must be a part of our daily living, for without entering into the desert of the heart, nothing can be gained. With the noise of the Internet, and the world of computers, iPods, laptops, and iPhones, the noise of the world threatens our soul like nothing in the previous history of humanity. The world of cybernetics has its place, but we must not allow it to overwhelm the spiritual dimension of our humanity.” (Abbot Tryphon)

 

“Growing up, I begged God (what seems like thousands of times) to take the cup of suffering from me, but mostly he didn’t. Instead, he used my pain and difficulties, my desert experiences, to transform me—which in turn alleviated much suffering. As I grew up in the desert, God grew my soul. And although I realize that the suffering I’ve endured is nothing compared to the suffering of countless millions, I’ve learned painful but essential lessons that I couldn’t have learned anywhere else but in the midst of God-haunted suffering.” (Marlena Graves)

 

“How do we find true solitude in the mad rush of our godless society? Where do we find spiritual room to pursue a discipline of blessed solitude?…If we are to gain the full riches of a life in Christ, we must also seek out times and places of solitude. Those of us living in the world must develop our own little deserts – places where we can withdraw each day into the renewing and healing presence of God.” (OCPM 7/18/2017)

 

“Solitude is a state of soul, not a matter of geographical location, and the real desert lies within the heart.” (Albert S. Rossi)

 

"It is God’s manner of dealing with men, to “lead them into a wilderness, before He speaks comfortably to them,” and so to order it, that they shall be brought into distress, and made to see their own helplessness and absolute dependence on His power and grace, before He appears to work any great deliverance for them...” (Jonathan Edwards)

 

 “The internet and social media feed my inordinate cravings for recognition…Bidding adieu to the internet and social media is a contemporary way of fleeing to the desert. While the internet is a convenient way to keep in touch with family and friends and to plumb the depths of knowledge, it is also a means of indulging our idle curiosities and nearly insatiable appetites for attention, affirmation, fame, and influence.” (Marlena Graves)

 

“How do we find true solitude in the mad rush of our godless society? Where do we find spiritual room to pursue a discipline of blessed solitude?…If we are to gain the full riches of a life in Christ, we must also seek out times and places of solitude. Those of us living in the world must develop our own little deserts – places where we can withdraw each day into the renewing and healing presence of God.” (OCPM 7/18/2017)

 

“If we are going to be for the world as Christ meant for us to be, we are going to have to spend more time away from the world, in deep prayer and substantial spiritual training—just as Jesus retreated to the desert to pray before ministering to the people. We cannot give the world what we do not have.” (Rod Dreher)

 

“Imagine yourself in a situation of life and work in which you have no access to the internet. Nor do you have any newspapers or magazines. All you see or know is what you actually encounter. Strangely, all you could actually do would be to “live.” This, in the best of situations, is the culture of a monastery. They are not “cut off” from the world. They are on this planet. But they are absent from the “matrix” of modern concern and anxiety, the illusion of managing history’s outcomes.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

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