Reading Spiritual Texts: Knowing That You Don’t Know

“What brings sweetness is harder to perceive than that which brings bitterness” Abbess Arsenia I am reading a collection of letters by Abbess Arsenia, a nineteenth century Russian nun who acted as a spiritual mentor for Peter Brianchaninov, brother of St. Ignatius Brianchaninov.  St. Ignatius Brianchaninov is perhaps most famous today for his book, The Arena, in which he lays out some very practical and insightful advice for monks and anyone zealous…

Closing The Door To Tormenting Demons

“Beware of idleness,” St. Isaac the Syrian warns the hermits, for “without it a monk cannot fall into the hands of those who strive to enslave him.” St. Isaac warns hermits not to neglect psalmody nor prayer because in abandoning them, the solitary opens a door to the demons. The judgement of God comes upon us not because we have neglected spiritual discipline, as though God punishes us for legal omissions, failing…