Year 5

Letter 19: The Church in a time of turmoil

When we were talking in a previous Weekly Teaching about the dispute between Cassian and Augustine, we need to keep in mind that both were talking from a different point of view.

Letter 18: St Paul and Origen on the Spiritual Senses

We saw how St Paul’s visionary experience spoke most to Origen and other early Christian teachers.

Letter 17: The influence of St Paul

The influence of St Paul on the Desert hermits cannot be underestimated. He was to them ‘theApostle’.

Letter 16: Discretion

As I mentioned before Cassian alternated his chapters in Conferences between prayer and discernment. Discernment is a very important element in the spiritual life.

Letter 15: Moral freedom and grace

Cassian, following in the footsteps of Evagrius, emphasizes both moral freedom, personal responsibility, as well as the workings of grace.

Letter 14: Prayer according to Cassian

John Main found his way of meditation confirmed in John Cassian’s writings on prayer in Chapter 9 and 10 of the Conferences.

Letter 13: Alone or in Community?

John Cassian was one generation younger than Evagrius, whom he revered most amongst the Desert Fathers and Mothers.

Letter 12: Evagrius, the Origenist monk

Evagrius was one of the most influential of the Desert Fathers, who had the greatest influence on John Cassian. I have quoted him many times; let me tell you a bit about who he was.

Letter 11: True Detachment

In the centuries following the flowering of mystical prayer amongst the hermits in the desert the essential rules of their way of life were summarised as poverty, chastity and obedience, t

Letter 10: The importance of silence, solitude and ceaseless prayer

Early Christian mysticism is really a spirituality grown out of the harsh, uncompromising but hauntingly beautiful environment of the desert with its profound silence and solitude.