Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Spiritual Exercises for the Mind ( St. Theophan the Recluse )

The following exercises are for the mind:

1. Reading and hearing the Word of God, the writings of the Holy Fathers and the lives of the God-pleasers
2. Studying and impressing upon yourself all the God-given truths in brief statements (the catechesis).
3. Asking questions of those older and more experienced.
4. Mutual informative discourse with friends.

A rule for reading:
• Before reading empty your soul of everything.
• Arouse the desire to know about what is being read.
• Turn prayerfully to God.
• Follow what you are reading with attention and place everything in your open heart.
• If something did not reach the heart, stay with it until it reaches.
• You should read quite slowly.
• Stop reading when the soul no longer wants to nourish itself with reading. That means it is full. If the soul finds one passage utterly stunning, stop there and read no more.

The best time to read the Word of God is in the morning.
Read the lives of the Saints is after mid-day meal.
Read the Holy Fathers before gong to sleep.

Remember the goal is impressing the truth on yourself and awakening the spirit.
Clarify the truth, hold it in your mind until they bond. Make no deductions or limitations.

"We can see the rule for everyone is this: impress the truth in a way that will awaken you."
St. Theophan

Ref: Path to Salvation, pp 242, 248
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