Life in Union with God – Br. James Koester

Br. James Koester

The First Sunday in Lent

Deuteronomy 26: 1-11
Psalm 91: 1-2, 9-16
Romans 10: 8 b-13
Luke 4: 1-13

It was the fall of 1999 and I was in Jerusalem for the first time. I was there on sabbatical and was attending a course at St. George’s College. A week or so after arriving we all piled onto a bus and headed for Cairo. We were to spend about 10 days in Egypt and Jordan stopping at various sites along the way. One place we stopped was St. Anthony’s Monastery near the Red Sea. As its name suggests, this is where St. Anthony the Great, who is known as the Father of Monasticism, lived alone in the Fourth Century. After our visit to the monastery we went to the cave where Anthony actually lived. The cave is high up on a hillside and requires a climb of several hundred steps, but I decided not to go. Everyone else hiked up the hill, and from all reports had a wonderful time. As enthusiastic as everyone was after having been in the cave where
St. Anthony lived, I have never regretted my decision. I decided not to visit the cave because I thought that the best way for me to honour St. Anthony was not by visiting his cave, along with everyone else, but rather by doing what he did, by being alone in the wilderness. I spent the hour or so while everyone was up the hill, sitting on a rock gazing out at the endless barren landscape. Read More