Monasticism

I'd like to share one of my favourite passages from A Night in the Desert of the Holy Mountain. The visiting bishop tells of his feelings when celebrating the Divine Liturgy at the request of the monks.

I confess that that particular Divine Liturgy created a difficult situation for me. Never in my life had I experienced such embarrassment and at the same time such inexhaustible joy. I felt embarrassment because I was among saints. When I came out of the altar to give the blessing, saying, 'Peace be with you all', I was perplexed. 'But they have this peace, whereas I need peace', I was thinking. When I gave the apostolic blessing, 'The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all', I knew very well what I was doing. I was giving the blessing and grace to those who were full of grace. I was saying, 'Let us lift up our hearts' to people whose hearts were always lifted up. I was the only one concerned by that command.

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It is an embarrassing situation to celebrate the Liturgy and impart Christ to those who are gods by grace. Christ is present there. "God among gods who have been deified by Him Who is truly God by nature."

Is this reflective of others' experience of monasticism, especially those who have been to the holy mountain? I have, in the pastm encountered a sequel to this book. However, I forget the title. Is anybody able to give an indication of whether it is as enlightening and inspiring as A Night in the Desert? If so, I would be very grateful if you were to share your thoughts. Thank you.

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