1) Learn first of all to be at peace with the spiritual situation which has been given you, and to make the most of it. If your situation is spiritually barren, do not let this discourage you, but work all the harder at what you yourself can do for your spiritual life. It is already something very important to have access to the Sacraments and regular church services. Beyond this you should have regular morning and evening prayers with your family, and spiritual reading—all according to your strength and the possibilities afforded by your circumstances.This is great stuff. I'd comment, but that would just seem so...anticlimactic.
2) Among spiritual writings you should read especially those addressed to people living in the world, or which give the “ABC’s” of spiritual life—such as St. John of Kronstadt’s My Life in Christ, St. Nikodemos’ Unseen Warfare, the Lives of Saints in general, and Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov’s The Arena (this book, while addressed to novices, is suitable for laymen insofar as it gives in general the “ABC’s” of spiritual life as applied to modern times).
3) To help your spiritual growth and remind you of spiritual truths, it would be good to keep a journal (the hardbound “record” books sold in stationery stores are good), which would include excerpts from the writings of spiritual books which you find especially valuable or applicable to you, and perhaps comments of your own inspired by reading and reflection, including brief comments on your own shortcomings which you need to correct. St. John of Kronstadt found this especially valuable, as can be seen in his My Life in Christ.
4) Don’t criticize or judge other people—regard everyone else as an angel, justify their mistakes and weaknesses, and condemn only yourself as the worst sinner. This is step one in any kind of spiritual life.
10 August 2007
Four Pieces of Spiritual Advice
These were from a letter written by Blessed Fr. Seraphim Rose: