On Self-Knowledge

On Self-Knowledge
And a man said, "Speak to us of Self-Knowledge."
And he answered, saying:
Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.
But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart's knowledge.
You would know in words that which you have always know in thought.
You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams.
And it is well you should.
The hidden well-spring of your soul must needs rise and run
murmuring to the sea;
And the treasure of your infinite depths would be revealed to your eyes.
But let there be no scales to weigh your unknown treasure;
And seek not the depths of your knowledge with staff or sounding line.
For self is a sea boundless and measureless.
Say not, "I have found the truth," but rather, "I have found a truth."
Say not, "I have found the path of the soul." Say rather, "I
have met the soul walking upon my path."
For the soul walks upon all paths.
The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.

Khalil Gibran - The Prophet


Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance

The spiritual struggle of a Christian has never been easy, He has to
contend not only against the obvious temptations of the world and
against the corruption in himself, not only "against flesh and blood,
but against... the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly
places." (Eph. 6:12)

In addition to the decisive support which participation in the life of
the Church offers hime, he is comforted by the knowledge that there
exists a "great cloud of witnesses," those who have already been
through the same struggles and know how to advise and encourage people
who follow in their footsteps. The spiritual experience of numerous
ascetics is contained in crystallized form in the writings of the
Fathers. We can draw on their spiritual wisdom when it is hard to find
living examples and guides for the spiritual life, as is the case in
our time.

Humble enjoyment of the teachings of the Fathers, whether in the
monastic cell of an elder or through books, is a basic part of
Orthodox devotional life. "He who has learned obedience," the Fathers
advise, "will himself be heard and will enter boldly into the presence
of the Crucified One," for the Crucicifed Lord Himself was "obedient
unto death." (Phil. 2:8)

Archbishop Paul of Finland
"The Faith We Hold"
SVS Press, 1980