Lenten Reading

I haven't very much to say in this post other than to state my intentions for spiritual reading and reflection this Lent. Some months ago, I was given a copy of The Spiritual Life by St Theophan the Recluse and have never picked it up to read it. I was told that he wrote for laypeople and that much of his thought and guidance is more readily accessible and achievable than much of what has been written from an intense monastic perspective, so I shall try to slowly make my way through it over the next few weeks and digest what I can.

I also plan to resume my daily readings of portions of the psalter in conjunction with Christ in the Psalms. When I started, I only did this for a week or so before my focus shifted to other reading, and I never got back into the routine.

Finally, I have The Law of God on order, so that should arrive over the next couple of weeks. It comes highly recommended but is less of a spiritual work than a general catechetical and explanatory work of various elements of Orthodox life and experience. It is, it seems, required reading for those seeking to enter seminary, and was transcribed numerous times by hand and smuggled into Russia during Soviet times so that the people could be educated in the Faith.

What are others' plans for Lenten reading?

4 responses:

Ian Climacus said...

May you readings be blessed.

I ordered, on your recommendation [so I will hunt you down should I find it not profitable ;) ] "Christ in the Psalms", and also "Christ the Conqueror of Hell" by Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev [his "Mystery of the Faith" is a beloved Chrismation present], so I pray I may read some of these.

I alternate between St Ignatius Brianchaninov's "The Arena" and my patron Saint's, John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent", reading one one Lent and another the next. Will try to do what I can with the Grace of God through reading "The Ladder" this year.

I am also, God willing, hoping to keep to the Church's daily readings of Genesis, Isaiah and Proverbs.

Anonymous said...

I think you will find St Theophan an excellent read, Michael. I am presently reading his 'Heart of Salvation' and find it very helpful to the Christian goal. I am nearly completed and maybe I will try St Silouan next.

I am also reading what I can from the Psalter and like Ian trying to keep up to date with the appointed daily Scriptural readings as well as the Synaxarion from Menologion 3.0.

Michael said...

Oh dear, Ian! You're the second person so far whom I know to have bought Christ in the Psalms as a result of my recommendation. I fear I may have to go into hiding, (again).

Archbishop Hilarion is splendid. I have On the Prayer of Jesus by St Ignatius and The Ladder of Divine Ascent but, like St Theophan's book, they have patiently sat in the bookcase, waiting for me to read them. One day, (he tells himself).

Thank you for the recommendation of Heart of Salvation. I may well get that once I have finished this one.

Thank you, as well, for the link to Menologion 3.0. I didn't know about it before and shall have a good explore of that later. Have you encountered the Ponomar Project?

Michael said...

Well, The Law of God has arrived today*, and I must say it is infinitely more complete than I had expected it to be. There is a wealth of teaching material here, of doctrine, scripture, iconography, thr divine services, and more - and from the snippets that I have read, it seems to be very accessible indeed. I cannot say for certain until I have explored it in more depth but my initial impression is that this is an ideal introduction to Orthodoxy for those who are completely new to Christianity.

Much of what is written (such as Archbishop Hilarion's superb Mystery of Faith relies on prior knowledge and understanding and is well-suited for a convert from another Christian grouping but something like this, that clearly presents the basics from scratch and is truly a treasure, and just the sort of foundation that new Christians need.

*Incidentally, I commend Orthodox Incense to you for their friendly and swift service. I only ordered this book on Thursday. Considering they were snowed in and didn't expect to be able to post it until Saturday, I think that its arrival today is little short of a miracle.

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