1. In a paragraph of about 200-250 words, describe what an ascetic life might look like today. Define “ascetic” and its role in one’s spiritual journey. Then compare how one might practice ascetism today with how the Desert Fathers practiced asceticism (Antony, for example. Keep in mind what Thomas Merton writes: “. . . a certain openness to the world, and a genuine participation in its anguish (helps) safeguard the sincerity of a commitment to contemplation.” (2 points)
2. After reading the three additional readings (Russian Mystics, Protestant Monasticism, and Virginity and Humanism in the Western Fathers) – write a short statement of about 100 – 150 words in which you answer this question: What are some differences and/or similarities between Russian mystics and Protestants living a monastic life, AND how does the issue of virginity or sexuality compliment and/or challenge the monastic/mystical pursuit? (2 points)
3. After you review the textbook reading (see Reading List) listen to the music linked below in a darkened room, screen off, preferably through headphones or crazy good speakers, describe in a paragraph of about 100-150 words the thoughts and/or feelings that pass through you as you listen. If it’s appropriate, use some of the terminology from your reading in the textbook. And you’ll want to hear it all before writing, because there’s an element of repetition that important. (2 points)
Miserere mei, Deus, by Allegri (“Have mercy on me, God”).