Ten books that showed me the beauty of the Christian faith
We publish the Christian mastrid of the priest Vyacheslav Perevezentsev.
“Faith from hearing” (Rom 10:17) – says Ap. Pavel. Today, as a rule, we learn about faith through books, certain texts, and it is very important which books they will be. For me, more than 30 years ago, embarked on the path of the search for God, these were these books. I read some of them while still far from the Church, some on the doorstep, and some already starting my church life. But it was these authors who were forever able to form my understanding of the Christian faith, its meaning and beauty. I could talk about each of them for a very long time, but most likely, this would turn out to be a story about me, and this is not at all interesting. But those who are interested in getting to know true Christianity, and not “Indian fables” (1 Tim 4: 7) about it, just take and open these books.
1. Archpriest Alexander Men. The Son of Man (1969)
“Every soul that has found Jesus Christ, from now on knows that man is not a lonely wanderer whom there is no one to hail in the black space desert, but – a child of God, an accomplice of divine designs. Incarnate on earth pointed out to people their highest destiny, consecrated and spiritualized human nature, sowing the seeds of immortality in it. In His face, the innermost and incomprehensible Creator has become close to us, and this fills life with joy, beauty, meaning. There is no longer a “frightening silence of the abyss”, above all – the light of Christ and the love of Heavenly Father …
That is why whenever Christianity was considered already buried, it, like the Crucified and the Risen One, rose from the grave, showing the immutability of the promise: "You are Peter, and on this Rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail over it."
Not doctrines or theories, but Christ Himself eternally renews Christianity and leads it to infinity.
The centuries that have passed since Easter morning in Judea are nothing more than a prologue to the divine-human fullness of the Church, the beginning of what Jesus promised her. New life gave only the first, sometimes still weak sprouts. The religion of the gospel is the religion of the future. But the Kingdom of God already exists: in the beauty of the world and where good prevails among people, in the true disciples of the Lord, in saints and ascetics, in those who want to follow Him, who have not left Christ amid the ordeals of His Church …
Give us, divine Teacher, the power of their faith, the invincibility of their hope and the fire of their love for You. When, having lost our way on the life road, we stop, not knowing where to go, let us see Your face in the darkness. Through the roar and roar of the technical era, so powerful and at the same time so impoverished and powerless, teach us to listen to the silence of eternity and let your voice be heard in it, your words inspiring courage: "I am with you all the days until the end of the century."
2. Priest Paul Florensky. The Pillar and Affirmation of Truth (1914)
“Living religious experience, as the only legal way of knowing dogmas” – so I would like to express the general desire of my book, or rather, my sketches, written at different times and under different moods. Only relying on direct experience can one see and appreciate the spiritual treasures of the Church …
There is no concept of churchness, but there is it itself, and for every living member of the Church, church life is the most definite and tactile that he knows. But church life is assimilated and comprehended only vitally – not in distraction, not rationally. If you really need to apply any concepts to it, then the closest thing here is not legal or archaeological, but biological and aesthetic. – What is churchness? – This is a new life, a life in the Spirit. What is the criterion for the correctness of this life? – Beauty. Yes, there is a special spiritual beauty, and it, elusive for logical formulas, is at the same time the only true way to determine what is Orthodox and what is not. The connoisseurs of this beauty are spiritual elders, masters of “art from the arts,” as the holy fathers call asceticism. Spiritual elders, so to speak, “filled their hand” in recognizing the good quality of spiritual life. The taste is Orthodox, the Orthodox appearance is felt, but it is not subject to arithmetic accounting; Orthodoxy is shown, but not proved. That is why for anyone who wants to understand Orthodoxy, there is only one way – direct Orthodox experience. They say that now they learn to swim abroad on devices, – lying on the floor; in the same way, one can become a Catholic or a Protestant from books without having to touch life at all – in one’s office. But in order to become Orthodox, one must plunge into the very element of Orthodoxy at once, heal Orthodox, and there is no other way. ”
3. The priest Alexander Yelchaninov. The Records (1935)
“What is faith for? – for nothing. If I said that she is needed to be a good person, to help people, to know God, to save my soul – all this would mean a selfish and selfish attitude to faith. We believe not for something, but because – we love God, because God is for us (in His appearance on earth as the God-man-Christ) – the totality of all the brightest, purest, infinitely beautiful, in short – all the most desired . Love of God leads faith in God. When you seek truth among conflicting philosophical systems, it is because you love the Truth; if all earthly beauty only languishes your heart and never saturates it – this is because we will calm down only on the Eternal Imperishable Beauty. If you are tormented by the impurity of your heart, this is because, without knowing it yourself, you crave absolute purity and holiness. ”
4. Protopresbyter Alexander Shmeman. The Diaries (2005)
“The beginning of the“ false religion ”is the inability to rejoice, or rather, the rejection of joy. Meanwhile, joy is so absolutely important because it is the undoubted fruit of the sensation of God's presence. You cannot know what God is and not be happy. And only in relation to it – the fear of God, and repentance, and humility are correct, genuine, fruitful. Beyond this joy, they easily become “demonic,” a perversion in the depths of the religious experience itself. The religion of fear. The religion of pseudo-humility. Religion of guilt: all these are temptations, all this is “charm”. But to what extent it is strong not only in the world, but also inside the Church … And for some reason, “religious” people always have joy under suspicion. First, most importantly, the source of everything: “May my soul rejoice in the Lord …” (Ps. 34: 9). Fear of sin does not save from sin. The joy of the Lord saves. "
5. Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh. Sermons (1991)
“We need to see in many ways. We need to learn to see in ourselves the evil that makes us petty, unworthy of even the human rank, not to mention the fact that it makes us incapable of partaking of the divine nature – which is our calling. But we must also learn to see in ourselves the image of God, that shrine that the Lord has placed in us and which we must preserve, strengthen, which we must give to shine with full light through the deed of all life. "
6. The Elder Silouan of Athos. The scriptures
“The Lord is love; and he commanded us to love one another and to love enemies; and the Holy Spirit teaches us this love.
A soul that has not known the Holy Spirit does not understand how to love enemies, and does not accept it; but the Lord pity everyone, and whoever wants to be with the Lord must love enemies.
He who knows the Lord by the Holy Spirit becomes like the Lord, as John the Theologian said: “And we will be like him, because we will see him as he is” and we will see his glory.
But he who scolds bad people, but does not pray for them, he never knows the grace of God.
If you want to know how the Lord loves us, then you will hate sins and bad thoughts, and pray earnestly day and night, and then the Lord will give you His grace, and you will know the Lord by the Holy Spirit, and after death, when you come to heaven, then there you will know the Lord by the Holy Spirit, as you know Him on earth. ”
7.K.S. Lewis. “Letters of Balamut”
“If you have made the world a goal, and faith a means, man is almost in your hands and it makes no difference what purpose he pursues. If only rallies, brochures, political campaigns, movements and deeds mean more to him than prayer, sacrament and mercy, he is ours. And the more he is “religious” (in this sense), the stronger we hold him ”(Balamut).
8. F. M. Dostoevsky. The Brothers Karamazov (1879)
“God took seeds from other worlds and sowed on this earth and grew his garden, and all that could come up came up, but the cultivated one lives and lives only by the feeling of his contact with the mysterious other worlds; if this feeling is weakened or destroyed in you, then the one cultivated in you dies ”(Elder Zosima).
“The mystery of human existence is not just to live, but to why live. Without a firm idea of why he should live, a person will not agree to live and soon destroy himself than he will remain on Earth, even if there were all the bread around him ”(The Great Inquisitor to Jesus).
“Try to love your neighbors actively and tirelessly. As you succeed in love, you will be convinced of the existence of God and the immortality of your soul. If you come to complete selflessness in love for your neighbor, then you will surely believe, and no doubt can even enter your soul. It is tested, it is for sure ”(Elder Zosima).
8. Graham Green. “Strength and Glory” (1940)
“Tears poured down his cheeks; at that moment it was not the curse that terrified him, even the fear of pain receded somewhere. All that remains is a feeling of immense longing, for he will appear before God empty-handed, having done nothing. At that moment it seemed to him that becoming a saint was easier than ever. This required only a little will and courage. It was as if he had missed his happiness, being late for a second to the agreed meeting place. Now he knew that ultimately only one thing was important – to be a saint. ”
10. Joseph Brodsky. Christmas Poems (1963-1995)
“Everyone will be the same in the grave. So we will be at least diverse in life! ”
Subscribe to the Predaniya.ru channel on Telegram so as not to miss interesting news and articles!
Join us on the Yandex.Zen channel!