Discussion around the bestseller The Benedict Option by Rod Dreher has led many people to want to know more about monastic principles. This book by the modern monastic prior Enzo Bianchi (of the Bose Community in Switzerland) gives insight to the monastic life lived by the desert fathers and mothers.
"Abba, give me a word " So young monks and visitors to desert monasteries would address an elder at the beginning of the 4th century. These seekers believed that a word originating outside oneself would descend into the heart and give direction to one's inner life. Enzo Bianchi has tried to let himself be guided by this tradition in Words of Spirituality and Hope. These "words" are not listed alphabetically or by theme. They are arranged to take you on a journey. Through the use of allusions and cross-references, one term evokes another, explains it in part, and sets aside some elements of its definition to be taken up further on. At the heart of the book is the conviction that life has meaning: it is not our task to invent or determine that meaning but simply to discover it - present and active - in and around us.