How an ordinary person awakens to life as prayer. Continued from yesterday . . .
Several hours southwest of Alexandria, on the eastern edge of the Libyan Desert, a narrow road descends into a basin made fertile by millennia of hard labor. The Wadi Natroun, known from the sayings of the desert fathers and mothers as Scete, is home to a handful of primitive monasteries. My destination was the Monastery of St. Macarius, inhabited in one form or another for some sixteen hundred years. “Find them,” I’d heard the Light say so many months earlier.
Aside from St. Anthony the Great, there is no soul more renowned for wisdom than St. Macarius the Great, the one who first inhabited this part of the desert. Over the centuries, it was to Macarius and those who cultivated a holy life in this desert that archbishops and emperors, senators and scientists, the wealthy and the poor all made pilgrimage, seeking a word to sustain them, convert them, heal them, transform them. Some found what they were looking for, others did not.
If I were to find wisdom, I wagered that there wasn’t a place on earth more capable of helping me than this one.
More tomorrow . . .