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  • 3 years ago
From the Plain to the Foothills

From the Plain to the Foothills

“So there you are on the heights, surveying the earth below and the sky above. Your intellect [nous] now begins to feel its freedom and wants to fly.”

I enjoy reading spiritual literature from holy people in the Orthodox Christian tradition. I like it because I often catch glimpses of myself, of my own struggles and my own triumphs. In many ways, books have been like a surrogate spiritual father to me. However, there is also a great danger in reading books for spiritual guidance. Often—actually, just about always in my experience—the writers of spiritual books, especially the classical spiritual books of the Orthodox tradition such as The Ascetic Homilies of St. Isaac the Syrian, The Ladder of Divine Ascent by St. John of Sinai, and the the writings found in the Philokalia, these were written to be read by monastic men and women who have already attained to a high degree of spiritual life. They was written, we might say, for those who have already attained the foothills and have