Meaning of Intellect and the Christian Desert

This week we present a video recording of a lecture by Reza Shah-Kazemi, “Imam Ali and the Spiritual Meaning of ‘Intellect’”, given in Karachi in 2013:

Without hilm (forbearance, self-control, far-sightedness) there can be no intellect, without contentment there can be no intellectual activity, without kindness one cannot be called an intellectual, without generosity one cannot be called an intellectual; all of these dimensions have to be there if we are to conform to the criteria laid by Imam Ali for the deeper meaning of the Intellect.

• Two articles on the Christian symbolism and “practice” of the contemplative wastelands: “Desert Spirituality” by Fr Ernest Larkin, O. Carm.:

A special appeal to heroic souls was the belief that the demons infested the wastelands and could be met there in open combat. It did not take long for the desert dweller to discover that the demons were within and to be engaged on the battleground of the soul.

• And “The Desert as Reality and Symbol” by Fr Donald Goergen OP:

… uncontaminated nature has a revelatory power which is manifest in the beauty it expresses. In a strange contrast to the harshness of the desert, mountains, or sea, one is overwhelmed by their beauty as much as by one’s dependency… it is this beauty, as well as one’s dependency, which turns one’s heart and mind to God. The beauty reveals a beautiful face of God: God is beauty.