The fourth-century ascetic flight to the desert indelibly marked Christianity. The faithful who did not embrace the austerity of the desert admired those who did and sought them out for counsel and consolation. The ‘words’ the monks gave were collected and passed around among those too far away or too feeble to make the trek themselves – or lived generations later. Previously available only in fragments, these Sayings of the Desert Fathers are now accessible in its entirety in English for the first time. We have a great deal to learn from their integrity and their unrelenting courage, from their vision of God – so Holy, so great, possessed of such a love, that nothing less than one’s whole being could respond to it. These were men and women who had reached a humility of which we have no idea, because it is not rooted in an hypocritical or contrived depreciation of self, but in the vision of God, and a humbling experience of being so loved. They were ascetics, ruthless to themselves, yet so human, so immensely compassionate not only to the needs of men but also to their frailty and their sins; men and women wrapped in a depth of inner silence of which we have no idea and who taught by ‘Being’, not by speech: ‘If a man cannot understand my silence, he will never understand my words.’ If we wish to understand the sayings of the Fathers, let us approach them with veneration, silencing our judgments and our own thoughts in order to meet them on their own ground and perhaps to partake ultimately – if we prove able to emulate their earnestness in the search, their ruthless determination, their infinite compassion—in their own silent communion with God.
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A Beginner’s Introduction to the Philokalia This beginner’s guide to the great five-volume classic of Eastern Orthodox spirituality studies the many concepts addressed in the Philokalia. Each chapter focuses on a single spiritual concept explaining it as simply as possible. Chapters include: Watchfulness (Nepsis), Logismoi (Thoughts), Ascesis, Theosis, The Passion, Stillness (Hesychia), the Jesus Prayer, [...]
This series is a testimony to the Spirit breathing where He wills.” America John Climacus: The Ladder of Divine Ascent edited and translated by Colm Luibheid and Norman Russell notes on translation by Norman Russell, preface by Kallistos Ware “Prayer is the mother and daughter of tears. It is an expiation of sin, a bridge [...]
“Love little things, and strive for that which is modest and simple. The Lord watches over us, and He is pleased that you long for His peace. Until the soul is ready, He will only sometimes allow us to see that He is present everywhere and fills all things. At these moments the soul feels [...]
The gospel of the second mile represents pro-active Christianity; it grants the one who follows it excellent spiritual energy through joy, love, faith, courage, and sacrifice through serving others.It protects such a person from being passive, selfish, fearful, worried, mean spirited, deprived, and frustrated.
One of the most profound works on repentance in all of Christendom. St. Theophan, a beloved Orthodox bishop from nineteenth-century Russia, speaks not only from a deep knowledge of the Church Fathers, but also from a lifetime of experience in turning his heart to God-and guiding others on this glorious Way that leads to our [...]