Year 5

Letter 21: Inner Conversion of Heart

We have talked already about the Benedictine vow of Conversion, as it points to the essence of the spiritual path – change in ourselves as a result of the change in our way of viewing the ordinary

Letter 20: The Rule of St Benedict

We can understand John Main’s delight in discovering not only the way of prayer with a ‘formula’ but also the theology that resonated with his own in Cassian’s and Evagrius’ writings.

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.