Addendum (6/22/16): Although the beginning of this “discussion” was officially on 2/11/16, anyone is welcome to begin reading at any point. Though comments have been few, I am still reading all of them. We are less than halfway through the book, moving slowly and prayerfully. So, newcomers are always welcome…


Welcome to the book reflection/discussion. As of this writing, I do not know how many people will be joining in and whether I will be personally acquainted with all of the participants. Thus, it seems that a few general guidelines might be in order.

First, commenting is encouraged because that is the only way that others will know that anyone else is here besides me. Comments do not need to be lengthy or profound. For those who may be uncomfortable with the idea of posting personal reflections on a public forum, rest assured that you do not need to enter your full name (or even your real name) when asked for a name before making your first comment.

You are asked, however, to provide a real e-mail address. Your e-mail address will not appear on the screen. However, as moderator I need it to differentiate you from spam. Also, in the unlikely event of a problem, this enables me to contact you personally, rather than posting something publicly or simply deleting your comment.

Also, the first time you comment, your comment will be held for “moderation” resulting in some delay for it to appear on the screen. This should only happen once unless you puts links to other websites in your comments. Let me know if there are any problems. You may contact me at: marykbenton(at)outlook(dot)com (insert symbols for words when e-mailing).

Second, this is my first time attempting an online book reflection/discussion so there will be some learn-as-we-go. My current plan is to post fairly often, with each post providing a small “bite” from the book to reflect on. This is not intended to rush you in the least.

Some readers may want something new every day or two; some may feel that this is too much. Please give yourself permission to be wherever you are. That also includes joining in “late”. If it takes you a while to obtain the book or you are busy, start when you are ready.

I will try to put the page number(s) the reflection is drawn from in the title of the post so that you will know if you have reached that point yet. Not that there are any “spoilers” in this sort of book 🙂 but that way you can stay with posts coinciding with where you are. Or look ahead if you wish.

You are asked to post your comments in the post it relates to, if it is content-specific. If you join in earlier, please be kind enough to go back and read the comments of those entering later. This will be simple if there are only a few of us, which is the most likely scenario.

Again, a reminder that we are here to “pray” this book, so there is absolutely no rush, no “being behind”. Only Fr. Matta in the desert sharing with us his thoughts and experiences of prayer with the timeless God whose love for us knows no limit.

Thanks for being here. Spread the word.



  1. Note: the publisher has graciously given us permission to liberally quote the book for our discussion. However, part of the agreement is to refrain from reprinting here any larger sections, such as entire pages or chapters. Hence, you will see me quoting brief passages and you may do likewise, without violating copyright.
  2. A brief comment about the word “Church”: certainly Fr. Matta, as a Coptic Orthodox Christian, is referring to the Orthodox Church. Let me suggest for the sake of this discussion that, when reading, we consider “Church” to be the community of faithful here on earth. Thus, whether you are of Eastern or Western Church, you may read this as the community you belong to and not be unnecessarily distracted. (While certainly there are differences between the Eastern and Western Church, they will play little if any role in our discussion here.)