The desert is a place of spiritual revolution, not of personal retreat. It is a place of inner protest, not outward peace. It is a place of deep encounter, not of superficial escape. It is a place of repentance, not recuperation. Living in the desert does not mean living without people; it means living for God. Antony and the other desert dwellers never forgot this. They never sought to cut off their connections to other people instantly. They sought rather to refine these relationships increasingly.
Of course, the desert was, on a deeper level, always more than simply a place. It was a way. And it was not the desert that made the Desert Fathers and Mothers, any more than it was the lion that made the martyrs.
In the Heart of the Desert
Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis