+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 1.4, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)
“Beware of self-delusion! Beware of the deceptions of the enemy! Do not think that a man is a real scholar of the Bible because he can quote by memory ever so many passages. Did not the first one who fell from the most elevated condition into the lowest hell, did not Satan know the Word of God? Yea, before it was written into a book by human hand. Look and see how the Devil quotes from the Bible when he tempted the Lord in the wilderness, and said: ‘He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.’ [Psalm 90:11-12 LXX] The Devil withheld the words that follow immediately after these, which read: “Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder; the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under foot.’ [Psalm 90:13 LXX]”
+ St. Sebastian Dabovich, The Lives of Saints: With Several Lectures and Sermons [hard-copy book] | [read online], “Sermon on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, 1896”
“The Church, through the temple and Divine service, acts upon the entire man, educates him wholly; acts upon his sight, hearing, smelling, feeling, taste, imagination, mind, and will, by the splendour of the icons and of the whole temple, by the ringing of bells, by the singing of the choir, by the fragrance of the incense, the kissing of the Gospel, of the cross and the holy icons, by the prosphoras, the singing, and sweet sound of the readings of the Scriptures.”
“Having read Holy Scripture very carefully, you should also read the holy Fathers who interpret the Scriptures. You will receive no less delight from reading the Fathers than you do from the Scriptures. The Fathers develop the hidden meanings in Scripture and with their own writings help us to understand what we did not before. Because of that philosophic axiom that all men by nature seek knowledge, we must say that great delight follows naturally when we learn about hidden and unknown matters. This is why there will be ineffable joy and gladness that will come to your soul from the interpretations and the words of the holy Fathers. You too will be shouting, as did David, those enthusiastic words in the Psalms.”
+ St. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain, A Handbook of Spiritual Counsel
A monk complained to St. Arsenius that while reading Holy Scripture he does not feel, neither the power of the words read nor gentleness in his heart.
To that the great saint will reply to him: “My child, just read! I heard that the sorcerers of serpents, when they cast a spell upon the serpents, the sorcerers are uttering the words, which they themselves do not understand, but the serpents hearing the spoken words sense their power and become tamed.
An so, with us, when we continually hold in our mouths the words of Holy Scripture, but even though we do not feel the power of the words, evil spirits tremble and flee for they are unable to endure the words of the Holy Spirit.”
My child, just read!
The Holy Spirit Who, through inspired men, wrote these divine words, will hear, will understand and will hasten to your assistance; and the demons will understand will sense and will flee from you.
That is: He Whom you invoke for assistance will understand, and those whom you wish to drive away from yourself will understand. And both goals will be achieved.
+ St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Prologue of Ochrid (May 8)
“If a man should come here with earnestness – even though he does not read the Scriptures at home – and if he pays attention to what is said here, within the space of even one year he will be able to obtain a considerable acquaintance with them. For we do not read these Scriptures today, and tomorrow others that are quite different, but always the same section and consecutively.
However, in spite of this, many have such an apathetic attitude that after such reading they do not even know the names of the books. And they are not ashamed, nor do they shudder with dread, because they have come so carelessly to the hearing of the word of God.
On the other hand, if a musician, or a dancer, or anyone else connected with the theater should summon them to the city, they all hurry eagerly, and thank the one who invited them, and spend an entire half-day with their attention fixed on the performer exclusively. Yet when God addresses us through the prophets and apostles, we yawn, we are bored, we become drowsy.”
+ St. John Chrysostom, Homily 58, Homilies on the Gospel of John
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