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