The Beauty Of Spiritual Reading
By Else Tennessen
The first time I read the ancient Church Fathers, I was still a Protestant without any knowledge of church history. I discovered a small book of what was termed “ancient writings” in a Protestant bookstore and brought it home. At that time, I was already wondering what had happened to the ancient church, not knowing if writings from the time of the church’s beginnings even existed. And here they were! Reading them was like a light coming on in a dark room and the first of many “breadcrumbs” that the Lord would lay out in my journey to Orthodoxy.
What is spiritual reading? Yes, it is definitely reading the Scriptures. As well, it is reading any writing by a devoted Christian person, historic or contemporary, about faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Books in this category may include commentaries, biographies, writings of the Church Fathers, poetry, hymns, homilies and more. Even some works of fiction can turn our eyes to God. Check out the giveaway shelves in the Sunday School wing or the St Luke Bookstore for books you can begin to read, or visit St Luke’s School of the Seventy at 70school.blogspot.com for book suggestions.
The beauty of daily spiritual reading lies in the grace imparted by the words of the faithful. This grace is many-fold: it keeps us mindful of the Lord, it may cause us to pray spontaneously as our souls relate to something written, it humbles us as we see the spiritual journeys others have made, and it can illumine us and grant us understanding into things the Lord wants us to know and learn.
Spiritual reading can be a fruitful part of one’s daily devotions. Meaningful words can become part of our prayers. We may even be motivated to keep a journal of our favorite passages and write our own thoughts about them and what they mean to us. This journal can become a record of our spiritual journey and be a comfort to us in dry times.
No time to read? Start with ten minutes of Scripture during lunch or break time. Any effort, no matter how small, is honored by God. And as we begin to listen, the Lord will speak. May your reading be blessed!