The Way of Gentleness

Intersections: Thoughts on Religion, Culture, and Politics

Given that lambs
are infant sheep, that sheep
are afraid and foolish, and lack
the means of self-protection, having
neither rage nor claws,
venom nor cunning,
what then
is this ‘Lamb of God’?

I’ve been re-entering the atmosphere of my “real” life after a month-long writing retreat at a Benedictine Abbey. It’s been a little hard. Thirty-one days is long enough to alter your body’s rhythms around sleeping and eating, not to mention your very way in the world: how you order your day, what you notice around you, what you prioritize in your life, what you let go.

When you pray five times a day in a Benedictine community–with the arresting beauty of the liturgy, the patient pace of the psalmody, the lush silences–it is easy to forget that monasticism began as a protest movement in the midst of political chaos and decay.

The desert fathers and mothers in the second and third…

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