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What is the Sun Dance Religion? Video Presentation
How can we understand Native American traditions?
The Fullness of God: Frithjof Schuon on Christianity
Noble Faces, Strong Voices: Exploring "The Spirit of Indian Women"
Treasures of the World's Religions
What is "Christian Spirit"?
Memories (video clips) of Martin Lings by Michon and Petitpierre
The Universal Spirit of Islam: Keys for Interfaith Understanding
Who was Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa)?
Paul Goble's World: Native Americans' relationship to all created beings
  What can we learn from the Desert Fathers & Mothers? Back to the List of Slideshows
The monastery of
St. Catherine near Mt. Sinai

"It was there that Moses
saw God."
slide 8 of 15

The desert elders believed that we cannot truly know our heart and transform our passions without a spiritual guide or counselor. The spiritual director is someone who keeps us honest, someone to whom we become accountable and someone to whom we owe obedience as an “avenue toward grace.”
The spiritual elder—or the abba, the amma—is the one who has journeyed along the way of the desert. The spiritual director is the one who has survived the desert and, therefore, can speak both with confidence and with compassion, with authority and with charity alike. The spiritual elder can provide guidelines against the pitfalls and pointers to places of refreshment. The way, of course, always remains personal; each of us follows a way that we carve out for ourselves. Yet the journey is social; we travel together with a sense of community.In this journey, the spiritual guide should be as dry as the desert. The elder should be characterized by discernment.The abba or amma should never block the way; they should never steal the limelight. They should never stand out, but always stand beside us. In fact, they should be characterized by few words, by the same golden virtues of the desert: namely, silence and fasting. The spiritual director is not a tourist-guide, but a fellow traveler on the same path.
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