Elder Arsenius on Reading Spiritual Books

Elder Arsenius the Cave-Dweller

Elder Arsenius the Cave-Dweller

Elder Arsenius considered reading imperative and would say, “Reading is a type of prayer. Every day, we used to read one or two chapters from the Holy Bible and then patristic books. As for St. Isaac the Syrian, we always held his book under our arms. If you don’t have any other book but only Isaac the Syrian, it is enough. It says everything… When we read the lives of saints we gain two things. Firstly, the example of their struggles wakes us from the numbness of negligence and, secondly, when we read the lives of saints with reverence, the saints intercede to Christ for us.

Before beginning to read, we must always pray. When we read the life of a saint it can affect us so deeply that we can’t control the tears. This happens because prayer enlightens the mind. “

-Elder, what should we concentrate on when reading the Holy Bible?
“All of the Holy Bible is God-inspired and we have to read it, but especially the Psalter from the Old Testament, which is very powerful prayer.”

Excerpt taken from the book: Elder Arsenios the Cave-Dweller (1886-1983), By: Monk Joseph Dionysiatis


1 Response to “Elder Arsenius on Reading Spiritual Books”

  1. 1 Malak S. February 21, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Its because of the deligence and prayers of these pillars of faith like Elder Arsanios that our faith is protecte, but mostly that we are protected through all their fervant prayers.
    Thank you very much for this lovely post.
    I guess the book from fr Isaac the syrian is the recommendation from this article.
    God bless

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St. Poemen the Great

"A man may seem to be silent, but if his heart is condemning others, he is babbling ceaselessly. But there may be another who talks from morning till night and yet he is truly silent, that is, he says nothing that is not profitable."

St. Gregory the Great

"Every day you provide your bodies with good to keep them from failing. In the same way your good works should be the daily nourishment of your hearts. Your bodies are fed with food and your spirits with good works. You aren't to deny your soul, which is going to live forever, what you grant to your body, which is going to die."

St. Paisius Velichkovsky

"Remember, O my soul, the terrible and frightful wonder: that your Creator for your sake became Man, and deigned to suffer for the sake of your salvation. His angels tremble, the Cherubim are terrified, the Seraphim are in fear, and all the heavenly powers ceaselessly give praise; and you, unfortunate soul, remain in laziness. At least from this time forth arise and do not put off, my beloved soul, holy repentance, contrition of heart and penance for your sins."

St. Tikhon of Zadonsk

“Prayer does not consist merely in standing and bowing your body or in reading written prayers….it is possible to pray at all times, in all places, with mind and spirit. You can lift up your mind and heart to God while walking, sitting, working, in a crowd and in solitude. His door is always open, unlike man’s. We can always say to Him in our hearts Lord , Lord have mercy.”

St. John of Kronstadt

The candles lit before the icons of the Theotokos are a symbol of the fact that She is the Mother of the Unapproachable Light, and also of Her most pure and burning love for God and Her love for mankind.

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