Practical Spirituality and the Desert Fathers
Though the “Desert Fathers” are well known to some Christians for their ascetical and mystical spirituality, there are many Christians and others for whom these early monastics and hermits are a novel issue. For the sake of these last, I introduce the Desert Fathers as a group of early Christians which for the sake of their faith in God sought refuge from persecutions, trials, and temptations in desolate areas such as the desert. They populated in particular the desert areas of the Middle East: Egypt, Gaza, Israel, Jordan, and Syria. One of the first monks who began this trend is Anthony the Great, the so-called father of monasticism, since he had many spiritual sons and daughters. This chapter deals with their vision and practice of practical spirituality.