Meaning of the Desert in Spiritual Thought of St. Peter Damian

  • Bernadetta Kwaśniak The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Faculty of Philosophy, PhD student
Keywords: cell; contemplation; desert; solitude; spirituality; hermit life; monasticism


The purpose of this article was to present the meaning of the desert in spiritual thought of Peter Damian. In the first part we presented a short biography of Peter Damian has provided insight choices in spiritual life. In the second part we showed his conception of the spiritual life that was inspired by the life of his spiritual master—St. Romuald. Peter Damian distinguished two ways in monastic life: community life and the solitary life, hermit. Community life is a kind of preparatory for the solitary life. In a third part we presented the value and importance of the hermit’s life and the difference between community life and the solitary life. Peter Damian pointed out that the desert and the cell is the perfect place for the monk who wants to achieve perfection in the spiritual life. Life in the desert is the surest way to attain salvation because it separates us from the world and it gives more favorable conditions for prayer, contemplation and ascetic practices in union with God. The desert is the place where it is exercised in virtue by fasting, silence and prayer, but also a place of combat with vices and with Satan. The desert is a vital passage for those who want to reach the top in the mystical life.


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