Picture: by cohdra
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Before I started visiting St. Leo Abbey, Florida, USA, I thought secluded monks had excluded themselves from most human interaction and therefore were irrelevant because they had no communication with the rest of the world -- where I lived.
I came to see that such an idea was misleading. For example, a large amount of written materials about the earliest Christian monks comes from the sayings/wisdom of the Egyptian desert fathers. This material generally comes from a collection of documents called the Apophthegmata Patrum which is from the Greek: apo, from; phtheggomai, to cry out; pater, father.
Even the name of this collection tends to erode the idea of complete exclusion — the name refers to what they passed on to their spiritual children. There is a large amount of such material -- the monks really had much to say and expected people to hear it.
Monks may have been secluded, but they kept the means and lines of communications open for the information they thought was most important. The early monks were like 50,000-watt radio stations in the desert, broadcasting on a clear channel. We can still tune in today.
Picture is cohdranknalchmy19.JPG by cohdra and is used subject to license.