Latest Thoughts

Recent Blogs

Desert/Wilderness

“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights He was hungry. The tempter came to Him…” (Matthew 4:1). The same Spirit will lead you into a desert that you must fashion by separating yourself from whatever prevents you from self-discovery. You need not go anywhere, but you have to put a distance from your routine way of life.” (Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky)


“The Russian word, “Poustinia”, means “desert”, and the importance of the poustinia to the inner life cannot 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)


“…for each person their flight to the desert may look different. Each person who desires to draw near to God has to discover those things that “bring on the onslaughts of wars and struggles” and by which “he swiftly inclines toward a fall,” as St. Isaac puts it. And it is those causes, the things, maybe the relationships, places or situations that bring on the onslaughts of war and struggle and that swiftly incline us to fall, it is from those things that we must flee. We must flee to the desert, to a place deserted of the things that are inciting our passions.” (Fr. Michael Gillis)


“As daily “life” happens, we are in a constant state of assigning meanings to encounters, interactions, conversations, world events, events in our lives, and to life changes. These meanings that we assign occur immediately and are deep in meaning. They also often occur on an unconscious level. It doesn’t take too much time before unprocessed life events begin to pile up and begin to cause us distress. Learning to take time, even daily, to sit and sort through all of the things we have been impacted by keeps our inner world functioning and keeps our soul fine-tuned…Learning to do these exercises can be part of our ascetical life. It throws open wide the doors to insight and self-awareness. We will feel more grounded, more at peace, more settled, and more confident. Our inner world, our heart, that desert within us, will not seem like such a chaotic or forbidden place. It will be sorted, organized, and known.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)


“Being in the desert challenges us to see ourselves, and what it means to follow Christ to His Cross, more clearly than we had before.  These matters are never merely part of the routine of this world…it is the desert that we must endure for our salvation out of love for our neighbors.  We must accept that the Lord remains with us in our spiritual wilderness and, in ways that we cannot fully understand, is granting precisely what we need for the healing of our souls through this period of deprivation.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)


“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)


#JonathanEdwards #MarlenaGraves #OCPM #RodDreher #FatherStephenFreeman #RobertJWicks #AbbotTryphon #AlbertSRossi #FrVladimirBerzonsky #AbbotTryphon #FrMichaelGillis #FrJoshuaMakoul #FrPhilipLeMasters

Quote of the Day

News