“He who senses his sins,
is greater than he who raises the dead
with his prayer.
He who groans one hour for his soul, is greater
than he who benefits the whole world.
He who is made worthy to see himself, is greater
than he who is made worthy to see angels.
To him who knows himself,
is given the knowledge of all things.
For the knowledge of ourselves is the fullness
of knowledge of all things.”
St. Isaac the Syrian
I read a passage this morning that spoke to me personally and will I’m sure to many others. Often, we get too caught up in theology while ignoring practical application. God is not to be worshipped by mind alone but with all our soul, heart, and body as well. Let us always remember to balance the two. Our reading and theological education is a guide and means – not the absolute source of our communion with or knowledge of God.
“He who seeks the inner kingdom of God and a living communion with Him, will naturally seek to remain continually in the thought of God. Turning his mind towards Him with all his might, his one desire will be to read only of Him, to speak only of Him. But these occupations alone will not lead to what is sought, unless accompanied by other, more practical activities. A certain type of mystic talks only of these occupations: the reason is that such teachers are people of theory and not of practice.
This practice of reading and speaking of God will, used on its own, create a facile habit for such things: it is easier to philosophize than to pray or pay attention to oneself. But since it is a work of the mind, which falls so easily into pride, it predisposes a man to self-esteem. It may altogether cool the desire for practical effort, and consequently hinder sound progress by a flattering successfulness in this mental activity.
For this reason sound-minded teachers warn their pupils of the danger, and advise them not to concern themselves too much with such reading and talk to the detriment of other things.”
Theophan the Recluse
“The love which grace has begotten in the heart of the bride is itself divine and persistent; many waters cannot quench it, nor the floods drown it. Suffering and pain, bereavement and loss may test its constancy, but they will not quench it. Its source is not human or natural; like the life, it is hidden with Christ in God.
Our love to God is secured by God’s love to us. To the soul really rescued by grace, no bribe to forsake God’s love will be finally successful. ‘If a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would be utterly contemned (Song of Solomon).'”
From Union and Communion by J. Hudson Taylor
“Often we find that those who had never previously known God have much stronger faith than those who claim to have been devout all their lives. When a person who has not known God comes to his senses and begins to pray to God, he know what it [life] was like before and he knows Who helped him find the light at the end of the tunnel.”