God’s Peace and blessings to you all! We continue on as we explore the various lives of Desert Fathers and Mothers as recorded in Palladius’ “Lausiac History.” For this lesson, you are invited to read Chapter 11: Ammonius; Chapter 28: A Virgin Who Fell; and Chapter 32: Pachomius and the Tabennesiots.
As you read, consider these questions:
Chapter 11: Ammonius -According to this story, is perfection possible in this life? What do you think “perfection of the love of God” looks like? Why do you think Ammonius refused ordination?
Chapter 28: A Virgin Who Fell – Palladius includes this story as a very important warning for all those who would lead a monastic life. By this story, we learn that ascetic practice alone is not the key to our transformation, but also the true intent neede for that practice. This is a very real danger for those who are attracted to contemplative practice and monastic life. This danger is as present now as it was back then. Our own communtiy suffered the effects of an individual who enjoyed the notoriety that came from the outward appearance of being a monk without actually being committed to the hard work of formation in community that comes from loving others as God. If we do not approach our practice with the proper intent it can be even more damaging than had we never practiced at all. With that in mind, with what intent does Palladius warn us that the virgin practiced asceticism? Do you ever find that same intent within your own practice? What, according, to this story, should be a true intent for practicing contemplative spirituality and asceticism?
Chapter 32: Pachomius and the Tabennesiots -Having successfully ordered his own life, was Pachomius called to continue in that life of a hermit, and so ascend to God by himself? Does everyone have the same rule of eating and working? How should that model speak to us today? What reason does the angel give for having such a simple/easy Rule of Life? Does the angel expect this to be the minimum or maximum degree of practice? Though they are all monks in the monasteries described, do they all do the same work? How can this relate to our current practice as monastics?
As before, you can find these readings online HERE.