Monday, 14 December 2009

The Way of the Ascetics - Tito colliander

Years ago during my time at theological college I came across an excellent book called "The Way of the Ascetics" writtten by an Orthodox layman called Tito Colliander. Here is asimple introduction to the work which had and continues to have such a prfound effect on my Christian walk. At the end is a link to a site that includes the complete text:

The "Way of the Ascetics" is an introduction to the narrow way that leads to life. It is a simple yet profound exposition of the spiritual life taught by the Orthodox Church for two thousand years. It is a portal to the vast spiritual experience of the desert fathers, and an insight into the spiritual lives of the saints. Reminiscent of the Ladder of St. John Climacus, "Way of the Ascetics" compells us to again begin the struggle against to climb away from the world to the Kingdom of Heaven

In our era of new-age spirituality and homemade religion, the simple patristic style of this work is consoling. In our age of spiritual naiveté, the simple and understandable instructions offered herein are enlightening and inspiring. We offer this text here on the internet for the first time, so that all spiritual neophytes in need of simple and easy to follow instructions may once again set out on the time-tested way that leads to the Kingdom of Heaven.

Here is the link and to whet your appetite a short quote from chapter one:

IF you wish to save your soul and win eternal life, arise from your lethargy, make the sign of the Cross and say:

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Faith comes not through pondering but through action. Not words and speculation but experience teaches us what God is. To let in fresh air we have to open a window; to get tanned we must go out into the sunshine. Achieving faith is no different; we never reach a goal by just sitting in comfort and waiting, say the holy Fathers. Let the Prodigal Son be our example. He arose and came (Luke 15:20).

However weighed down and entangled in earthly fetters you may be, it can never be too late. Not without reason is it written that Abraham was seventy-five when he set forth, and the labourer who comes in the eleventh hour gets the same wages as the one who comes in the first.

Nor can it be too early. A forest fire cannot be put out too soon; would you see your soul ravaged and charred?

In baptism you received the command to wage the invisible warfare against the enemies of your soul; take it up now. Long enough have you dallied; sunk in indifference and laziness you have let much valuable time go to waste. Therefore you must begin again from the beginning: for you have let the purity you received in baptism be sullied in dire fashion.

Arise, then; but do so at once, without delay. Do not defer your purpose till "tonight" or "tomorrow" or "later, when I have finished what I have to do just now." The interval may be fatal.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just shared your posting of Tito Colliander's book with my Facebook friends. You do not know what an incredible event of synchronicity (in Jungian terms) it was to find this book posted online for free! I am an Orthodox Christian from not too long ago (for less than 6 yrs) and not too long after I had an experience of the descent of the Holy Spirit this year on Theophany, hell broke loose and I had a very difficult time. Then God led me to a hesychast monk from Finland on Facebook who gave me brotherly support and he just advised me to do Jesus's Prayer. I do not think it is a coincidence to find the name of the Finnish writer Tito Colliander in bishop Kallistos Ware's book "The Inner Kingdom" and then - to find your posting of Tito's book "The Way of the Ascetics" right after I found the monk. And since I am so-o broke right now, the availability of the book for free is a Godsent!
Thank you! I will let you know what I think of the book!

Illiana C.