The Commandments Of The Gospel - Speaking the Truth in Love - Ancient Faith Radio
Since we've been working our way through a series of posts on St. Ignatius Brianchaninov's The Arena, this podcast from Fr. Thomas Hopko seemed pertinent. It is about 45 minutes long, but is very well worth the listen. He brings up a number of wonderful points regarding our own zeal for the Church and the spiritual life. One point in particular has inspired me to dig a little deeper in order to elaborate a bit more later on. But for now there is something that I wish to bring up and elaborate upon a bit.
In her book, Poustinia, the Servant of God Catherine Doherty mentions how for the first year of life as a new "poustinik" a solitary is only permitted to read the Bible. All other books are banned at least until after the first year. This has always bothered me a bit. What about the Fathers? What about the liturgical texts of our Church? What about the great wisdom contained in such books as the Philokalia, or The Arena, or other classics of Eastern and Western spirituality. As a lover of books it deeply bothered me that only one book would be permitted in the poustinia.
After listening to this podcast by Fr. Tom I was struck by the wisdom of "the Baroness," as Catherine Doherty is sometimes affectionately called. Not only was her command for newcomers to her "lay apostolate" completely in line with what Fathers like St. Ignatius taught, but it also encourages a way of life that is rooted first in the commands of the Gospel, and then in those same commands as elaborated by the Fathers. It is first necessary to establish the deep roots before the tree can grow and bear fruit, otherwise the first storm that passes will uproot the tree before it has a chance to mature.
I felt challenged by this podcast to deepen my own study of the Scriptures, a study which is admittedly lacking on my part. If, as St. Jerome mentions, ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ, then we ought to be zealous to correct any ignorance of the Gospel so as to come to know Christ more deeply. May heaven consume us.