At the age of 44, after a prominent career as a Catholic activist, Carlo Carretto was summoned by a voice that said: ‘Leave everything, come with me into the desert. I don’t want your action any longer, I want your prayer, your love.’ Carretto responded by leaving for North Africa, where he joined the Little Brothers of Jesus and embraced the example of Charles de Foucauld.
Among the fruits of Brother Carlo’s response was Letters from the Desert, the first and most popular of his many books. Its life affirming message has inspired countless readers in a dozen languages. Simply, it reminds us that in the evening of our lives we will be judged by love.
What I share in these pages is the music I have heardbehind the words and the flow of the Gospel of John.I have listened to the song,which warmed and stirred my heart,opened up my intelligence,gave hope, meaning and orientation to my life,with all that is beautiful and all that is broken within me,and meaning to this world of pain in which we live.I want to sing this song, too,even if my voice is weak and sometimes waversso that other may sing itand that together we may be in the world singing a song of hopeto bring joy where there is sadness and despair.
This booklet, by Trevor Miller, looks at the ways in which Dietrich Bonhoeffer has been an influence on our Community. A Lutheran Pastor in the Confessing Church in Germany in the 1930s, Bonhoeffer’s early exploration of Community and New Monasticism was cut short by the Nazi regime, but his writings have lived on. In this booklet Trevor helps us to make the connections between Bonhoeffer’s life and work and our own journey as a Community.
This book could also be called From Prayers to Prayer. Deep calls to Deep explores various ways of praying and how these lead into a deeper, quieter form of contemplative prayer. At the outset some basic theoretical ideas about prayer are explored – how to understand petitionary prayer, unanswered prayer, the idea of God speaking to us in prayer, of making His will know to us.
But what people these days need is help to remain focused at a deeper level of prayer. It is always important to talk as practically as possible about the contemplative dimensions of prayer. Ordinary life needs a structure for that kind of silent 'freewheeling' prayer. In this context David Foster re-examines traditional forms of prayer through meditation and also considers the bridgehead in prayer that is reached when this kind of meditation is impossible. This book is steeped in the Benedictine tradition in which the author received his formation.
The Sayings of the Desert Fathers – The Alphabetical Collection Translated by Benedicta Ward, SLG
The fourth-century ascetic flight to the desert indelibly marked Christianity. The faithful who did not embrace the austerity of the desert admired those who did and sought them out for counsel and consolation. The ‘words’ the monks gave were collected and passed around among those too far away or too feeble to make the trek themselves – or lived generations later. Previously available only in fragments, these Sayings of the Desert Fathers are now accessible in its entirety in English for the first time.
‘We have a great deal to learn from their integrity and their unrelenting courage, from their vision of God – so holy, so great, possessed of such a love, that nothing less than one’s whole being could respond to it,’ wrote Archbishop Anthony of Sourzah in the preface. ‘If we wish to understand the sayings of the Fathers, let us approach them with veneration, silencing our judgments and our own thoughts in order to meet them on their own ground and perhaps to partake ultimately – if we prove to emulate their earnestness in the search, their ruthless determination, their infinite compassion – in their own silent communion with God.’