The Shepherd, August 2005

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FROM THE FATHERS

“PAMBO, our holy father, being an illiterate man went to one of the fathers who knew letters for the purpose of being taught a psalm. And having heard the first verse of the thirty-eighth psalm, ‘I said I will take heed to my ways lest I sin with my tongue,’ he departed without staying to hear the second verse, saying, ‘This one will suffice if I can learn it in deed.’ And when the father who had given him the verse reproved him because he had not seen him for the space of six months, the blessed one answered that he had not yet learned in deed the verse of the psalm. After a considerable lapse of time, being asked by one of his friends whether he had made himself master of the verse, he answered thus, ‘In all of nineteen years, I have only just succeeded in accomplishing it.’”

From the Ecclesiastical History of Socrates Scholasticus,
c. 380-450 A.D.

“AS SOON as anyone practises the virtues with true intelligence, he acquires a spiritual understanding of Scripture. He worships God actively in the new way of the Spirit through the higher forms of contemplation, and not in the old way of the written code (cf Romans 7:6), which makes man interpret the Law in an outward and sensual manner, and Judaic-like, fosters the passions and encourages sin.”

Venerable Maximus the Confessor, 580-662 A.D.

“HE WHO can partially understand the grace of the Holy Gospel and the things that are in it - that is to say, the actions and teachings of the Lord, His commandments and His doctrines, His threats and His promises - knows what inexhaustible treasure he has found, even if he cannot speak about such things as he should, since what is heavenly is inexpressible. For Christ is hidden in the Gospel, and he who wishes to find Him must first sell all that he has and buy the Gospel (cf Matt. 13:44). It is not enough merely to find Christ through one’s reading, but one should also receive Him in oneself by imitating His way of life in the world.”

Venerable Peter of Damascus, twelfth century

“THE READING of the word of God should be performed in solitude, in order that the whole mind of the reader might be plunged into the truths of HolyScripture, and that from this he might receive warmth, which in solitude produces tears; from these a man is wholly warmed and is filled with spiritual gifts, which rejoice the mind and heart more than any word.”

Venerable Seraphim of Sarov, the Wonderworker, 1759 - 1833 A.D

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