39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
An excellent guide for guarding the heart,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Spiritual Life: And How to Be Attuned to It (Paperback)
St. Theophan's letters offer spiritual direction concerning the use of the Jesus prayer, the appropriate way to prepare for and make a healing confession, for directing one's mind toward God, and for ways of battling spiritual 'cooling off.' The first part also provides a very interesting, patristically inspired discussion of the soul. Another advantage is the fact that the publisher has placed in bold print those passages Fr. Seraphim Rose believed to be of special importance. While far from distracting, this only underscores important themes and points of advice. Additionally, some consider this book to be a sort of introduction to St. Theophan's other inspiring work, 'The Path to Salvation.' For converts or those looking for an example of an Orthodox piety of the Heart, this book provides a wonderful example of an older, less 'modern' form of piety. Furthermore, while St. Theophan is able to discuss things on an informed intelletual level, his is not an Orthodoxy of the mind, of definitions and philosophical distinctions. Rather, he emphasizes the ascetic and spiritual disciplines that, through the Grace of God, the Church, and personal effort, help one to struggle to grow in the likeness of Christ. This is all the more interesting since many consider St. Theophan to be perhaps the most educated Russian saint of the last century; yet, like Blessed Ignaty Brianchaninov and St. John of Kronstadt, this does not get in the way of a true Orthodox heart.