I often travel by bus into the heart of the city. A frequent fellow-passenger is a young woman who sits quietly reading throughout the forty minute journey. She always reads from what appears to be the same small black book. When I first found myself seated beside her I could not help (discretely, I hope!) looking to see what kept her attention so quietly focussed. It was a small Horologion (or Breviary). She employed her travelling time to unobtrusively read the Hours each day, sitting quietly in her own desert while in the midst of the city.
There are those for whom the spiritual life appears to be an Olympic sport. More prayer is better prayer, more fasting is better fasting, more ostentatious “holiness” is obviously holier. Quiet, unobtrusive asceticism, a true “interior life”, attracts no attention and wins no praise.
A young man came to speak to me about…
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