Well, we’ve finally done it – we’ve come to the end of this short series on the Desert Fathers. In case you were too blown away by the obscure names of some of the monks to follow, I was trying to show the rise of the practice of religious life in the Church, from St. Anthony of the Desert leading up to St. Benedict, the founder of Western Monasticism.
What’s the point of all this, you might ask? I’m not writing these to encourage you to wear camel skins or wander off into the desert to live in ancient tombs or monasteries. I write to show you that the practice of religious life is a beautiful thing! Men, and (especially in our region) dedicated women, who have offered their lives in prayerful service for each of us in the Church, and who have shown us the meaning of discipleship through the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience, are incredibly important to the life of the Church. Please pray for vocations to the religious life, and if you know someone who you believe would make a good religious brother or sister, PLEASE tell them in love!
That being said, religious life is just one specific path in answering that universal call to holiness given to all of us. If there’s one thing that we can take away from the Desert Fathers, I believe it is their extreme example of taking seriously the words of Jesus. All of us are called to leave behind that which is keeping us from God, so that we can focus on what is good and right, and live our lives to please God. Please, continue to pray, fast, and give generously (even if it’s not Lent right now), and maybe offer a special sacrifice on Fridays. These are simple ways that we can offer our lives to God in a similar way to the lives of these holy Desert Fathers and Mothers.