"May our love for the Sun, the will of God, be as strong as the sunflower’s, so that even in days of hardship and sorrow we will continue to sail unerringly along the sea of life, following the directions of the barometer and compass of God’s will that leads us to the safe haven of eternity."
This is a thoroughly practical manual of the spiritual life focusing on the central goal of every Christian: learning the will of God and struggling to mold our life to it, just as Christ “humbled Himself and became obedient.” (Phil. 2:8) Even more fundamentally, St John addresses the question of why we should care about God’s will. Finally, the reader will find eternal wisdom running through these writings on questions of theodicy, free will, and Divine Providence.
This work is reminiscent of the classic text "Unseen Warfare" in its historical genesis as an Orthodox redaction of an originally Roman Catholic text. First published in 1627 as “The Heliotropium” it was the work of a German Jesuit writer Jeremias Drexelius. The future St John adapted this text for an Orthodox audience as a student and then teacher at the Kiev Academy in the 1670’s but it was not published until 1714, just a year before the author’s death. This is the first English edition of St John’s text, further edited and abbreviated for the contemporary reader.
Posted by Slobodan on 14th Sep 2019
In times when there are virtually no Startsi (Elders) left, and even true spiritual guides are scarce, it becomes ever so harder to recognize the Will of God in one's life. This book does not only deal with one of the hardest questions from philosophical standpoint, but is also written in a very understandable, down-to-earth language, and is full of practical advices. And so, it becomes an essential read for our times.
Regarding the negative review written below, I'm posting an excerpt from Fr. Seraphim Rose's Preface to "The Place of Blessed Augustine in the Orthodox Church":
"...not merely a "scapegoat" on which one loads all possible theological errors, justly or unjustly, but something even more dangerous: an excuse for an elitist philosophy of superiority of "Eastern wisdom" over everything "Western". According to this philosophy, not only Augustine himself, but also everyone under any kind of "Western influence", including many of the eminent Orthodox theologians of recent centuries, does not "really understand" Orthodox doctrine and must be taught by the present-day exponents of the "patristic revival". Bishop Theophan the Recluse, the great 19th-century Russian Father, is often especially singled out for abuse in this regard: because he used some expressions borrowed from the West, and even translated some Western books (even while changing them to remove all un-Orthodox ideas) since he saw that the spiritually impoverished Orthodox people could benefit from such books (in this he was only following the earlier example of St. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain)—our present-day "elitists" try to discredit him by smearing him with the name of "scholastic". The further implication of these criticisms is clear: if such great Orthodox teachers as Blessed Augustine and Bishop Theophan cannot be trusted, then how much less can the rest of us ordinary Orthodox Christians understand the complexities of Orthodox doctrine? The "true doctrine" of the Church must be so subtle that it can "really" be understood only by the few who have theological degrees from the modernist Orthodox academies where the "patristic revival" is in the full bloom, or are otherwise certified as "genuinely patristic" thinkers.
Yet, a strange self-contradiction besets this "patristic elite": their language, their tone, their whole approach to such questions—are so very Western (sometimes even "jesuitical"!) that one is astonished at their blindness in trying to criticize what is obviously so much a part of themselves."
Posted by Daniel DeLorenzo on 26th Sep 2018
It was originally written by a Roman Catholic, and adapted by St. John. example of the Roman Captivity of the Russian Church. Thomistic, scholastic, and direct. I read through a quarter of it and put it down. 50-years of Western scholasticism were enough for me.
Posted by Peter Gendi on 19th Sep 2018
Just bought it a few days ago and haven't read it all. However, from what I did read, it has been very spiritually beneficial. I spent a good amount of time contemplating on what I read. Bought two more copies for people who I believe would like to read the book. It is a spiritual classic that was translated into English for the first time. Hope this Publisher translates other similar Spiritually benefiting texts in the future.
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