in 394 at the age of 90, his body was on its knees and his soul was with the blessed.
Some time ago I was in conversation with someone who considered the desert fathers and mothers to be masochists - the idea of being a living sacrifice was an horrific idea.
The definition of sacrifice is to 'set aside' - to offer what is most precious to God. This can only be done if the person is willing; if the 'setting aside' is worthwhile. To belong only to God must surely be 'worthwhile' - but does belonging only to any 'one' require the exclusion of all others?
The odd thing, is that through this 'setting aside' - by belonging only to the One who made us - we experience this holy joy that loves all things.
But not everyone can make this level of sacrifice - or maybe we can- but in our own way.
Perhaps it is easier to find a place for oneself in the desert; with all its physical trials but without the temptations of the world. I will admit to sometimes finding the idea of solitude and the 'apartness' so very appealing.
How difficult it is to focus only on God, only on our soul travelling towards God when we live in the busyness and distractions of the Everyday.
This then becomes our challenge - to sacrifice the 'who we are' within the walls of the mundane - in the ordinariness of life - and to create within ourselves some 'desert' space to follow the yearning that leads us into the experience of God's loving presence and so find ourselves, at the end of the day, praying on our knees and with blessed souls.