St Isaac of Syria: Do You Delight in the Pursuit of Scripture?

Holy Wednesday and Feast of St Celestine, Pope of Rome

Isaac_Square.jpgWHEN A MAN'S thoughts are totally immersed in the delight of pursuing the wisdom treasured in the words of Scripture by means of the faculty that gains enlightenment from them, then he puts the world behind his back and forgets everything in it, and he blots out of his soul all memories that form images embodying the world. Often he does not even remember the employment of the habitual thoughts which visit human nature, and his soul remains in ecstasy by reason of those new encounters that arise from the sea of the Scripture’s mysteries.

And again, if the mind swims on the surface of the waters, that is, of the sea of the divine Scriptures, and its perceptions cannot fathom the great depth so as to be able to grasp all the treasures in its deep, yet even this practice in itself, by the power of its fervent love, will suffice the mind firmly to pinion its thoughts by a single thought of wonder, and to prevent them from hastening toward the body’s nature, as one of the Godbearing Fathers said. And this, he says, is because the heart is feeble and cannot sustain the evils that it encounters from inner and outer warfares. And you know that an evil thought is oppressive. If the heart is not occupied with study, it cannot endure the turbulence of the body’s assault.  

—St Isaac of Syria, "On Renunciation and the Monastic Life"

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