Weekly Teaching from the International School of Meditation

Letter 22: Meditation and Community

We have looked at the influence on John Main of the teaching of the Desert Fathers and Mothers, in particular Evagrius of Pontus and John Cassian, Celtic spirituality, St Benedict and the writings

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.