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The Desert of the Heart: Daily Readings with the Desert Fathers
Author: The Desert Fathers
Translator: Sister Benedicta Ward SLG
The Desert Fathers were Christian hermits, ascetics and monastics who, from about the third century onwards, abandoned the cities of the pagan world to live a life of solitude in the Egyptian desert. In time, they developed a reputation for holiness and wisdom, and had a major influence on the development of Christian spirituality. Many became important figures in the Church and in society. Some embraced a way of life which offered aspects of community living. The desert was a school of self-discipline and resistance to temptation, in order to follow God’s call in a more concentrated way. The Desert Fathers emphasized meditation, the essential place of Scripture, the primacy of love, and the search for God leading through purgation to the purity of heart needed for the vision of God.
Sister Benedicta Ward SLG entered the Community of the Sisters of the Love of God in 1955. She teaches spirituality in the University of Oxford and is an Emeritus Fellow of Harris Manchester College. She has written a number of books on early monasticism and on the Middle Ages, and is one of the world’s leading writers on the legacy of the Desert Fathers. Her published works include books on the Desert Fathers, the Venerable Bede and St Anselm, and on miracles and relics in the Christian tradition.
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The way of life of the fourth-century Desert Fathers, with its emphasis on solitude, silence and unceasing prayer, has inspired many modern spiritual writers.
Why do the Desert Fathers have so much to say to us? To answer this question, Sister Benedicta presents some of the best and most illuminating stories and sayings from the desert. Readers will find spiritual wisdom, along with sharp humour and startling insight into human nature.
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140 x 210 mm