# The Way of the Heart – The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers
- Type: #book/nonfiction
- Author:: [[Henri J.M. Nouwen]]
- Year published:: []
This source is the Apophthegmata Patrum, the Sayings of the Desert Fathers.
lived in the Egyptian desert during the fourth and fifth centuries,
But if the world was no longer the enemy of the Christian, then the Christian had to become the enemy of the dark world.
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Abba Arsenius prayed to God in these words, ‘Lord, lead me in the way of salvation.’ And a voice came saying to him, ‘Arsenius, flee from the world and you will be saved.’
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‘Arsenius, flee, be silent, pray always, for these are the sources of sinlessness.’”
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But he came out of this trial victoriously—not because of his own willpower or ascetic exploits, but because of his unconditional surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
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solitude is the furnace in which this transformation takes place.
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Our society is not a community radiant with the love of Christ, but a dangerous network of domination and manipulation in which we can easily get entangled and lose our soul.
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These very compulsions are at the basis of the two main enemies of the spiritual life: anger and greed.
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What else is anger than the impulsive response to the experience of being deprived?
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Anthony and his fellow monks considered it a spiritual disaster to accept passively the tenets and values of their society.
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Solitude is the furnace of transformation. Without solitude we remain victims of our society and continue to be entangled in the illusions of the false self.
Note:Solitude, withdrawal, is necessary. Even a loving Christian community is affected by the fallen world.
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For them solitude is not a private therapeutic place. Rather, it is the place of conversion, the place where the old self dies and the new self is born, the place where the emergence of the new man and the new woman occurs.
Note:Solitude is not selfcare
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The task is to persevere in my solitude, to stay in my cell until all my seductive visitors get tired of pounding on my door and leave me alone.
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“It is folly for a man who has a dead person in his house to leave him there and go to weep over his neighbor’s dead.”6
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“I have often repented of having spoken,” Arsenius said, “but never of having remained silent.”
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the word is the instrument of the present world and silence is the mystery of the future world.
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having been motivated more by curiosity than by service.
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literal translation of the words “pray always” is “come to rest.”
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Prayer is standing in the presence of God with the mind in the heart;
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the word heart in the Jewish-Christian tradition refers to the source of all physical, emotional, intellectual, volitional, and moral energies.
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Wordiness in prayer often subjects the mind to fantasy and dissipation; single words of their very nature tend to concentrate the mind.
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the prayer of the heart is nurtured by short prayers, is unceasing and all-inclusive.
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In a period of history dominated by the growing fear of a war that cannot be won
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in the unsettling political and economic situation of our day