“Many live on the mountains and behave as if they were living amidst the uproar of a city, and they are lost. It is possible while living amongst a crowd to be inwardly solitary, and while living alone to be inwardly beset by the crowd.” Amma Syncletica from Saying of The Desert Fathers.
Amma Syncletica, one of our desert mothers, describes a reality we know all too well. We may live in the city or in the desert but no matter our circumstance, we may have inner peace or there may a war waging within us. One is not (or rather cannot be) ‘holier’ because of the setting of their life. Inwardly we can make a desert out of a city and vice versa. This saying bears true in our day in that we are the most interconnected society and yet depression and loneliness run rampant. In other ways we seek to fill our lives with noise and sound; we have the radios on in our cars, music plays even as we work, our cell phones are attached to us and command our attention at all hours, and so on.
Let us seek to find silence and to seek Christ in our own hearts. Let us not take for granted those moments, whether driving or walking between classes or work, wherein we can pursue Christ. This is why the tradition of the East continued the spiritual tradition of short, repetitive prayers (the Jesus Prayer “Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me”, being the prime example) to enable us to focus our minds on Christ and to seek Him in the inner silence of our hearts.
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