December 19, 2012 + The Practical Reading of the Scriptures Delights the Soul


by St. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain, A Handbook of Spiritual Counsels, The Classics of Western Spirituality, p. 190.

If you love to enjoy true and complete delight from the Scriptures, seek to read them not merely with simple understanding, but with deeds and practical realities. Moreover, seek to read them not merely for the mere love of learning but also for the sake of ascetic endeavors and discipline, as St. Mark wrote: "Read the words of Holy Scripture with an eye to practical applications and not merely to he puffed up by any fine thought that you may receive from Another Father said: "This is why the lover of knowledge must also be a lover of discipline and practical application. For knowledge alone does not give light to the lamp." You will receive this light if you contemplate on the content of Scripture and realize that it was written to correct you and not the others, as again St. Mark said: "The humble person who has a spiritual life reads the Holy Scripture and understands everything to refer to him and not to others.” For this is true wisdom, fear of God, and avoidance of evil: “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding” (Job 28:28). St. Gregory the Theologian also wrote: “The first wisdom is a praiseworthy life purified by God.”

Having read Holy Scripture very carefully, you should also read the holy Fathers who interpret the Scriptures. You will receive no less delight from reading the Fathers than you do from the Scriptures. The Fathers develop the hidden meanings in Scripture and with their own help us to understand what we did not before. Because of that philosophic axiom that all men by nature seek knowledge, we must say that great delight follows naturally when we learn about hidden and unknown matters. This is why there will be ineffable joy and gladness that will come to your soul from the interpretations and the words of the holy Fathers. You too will be shouting, as did David, those enthusiastic words in the Psalms.

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Holy Martyr Boniface at Tarsus, in Cilicia

Troparion of St. Boniface - Tone 4

You fervently followed the way of the martyrs, confessing Christ before unbelievers, O Boniface. You gave your body to modest Aglae as an imperishable treasure. Healing and mercy flow from it for the world.

Kontakion of St. Boniface - Tone 4

Willingly you offered yourself as a blameless sacrifice to the One about to be born of the Virgin for our sake, holy crown-bearer, all-wise Boniface.