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At the Garden Gate

John Damascene, 8th  century

"All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for training in righteousness." [2 Tim. 3:16] The soul therefore gains great advantage from the reading of the Bible.

"Like a tree planted by streams of water," [Ps. 1:3) the soul is irrigated by the Bible and acquires vigor, produces tasty fruit, namely, true faith, and is beautified with a thousand green leaves, namely, actions that please God. The Bible, in fact, leads us towards pure holiness and holy actions. In it we find encouragement to all the virtues and the warning to flee from evil.

The Bible is a scented garden, delightful, beautiful. It enchants our ears with birdsong in a sweet, divine and spiritual harmony, it touches our heart, comforts us in sorrow, soothes us in a moment of anger, and fills us with eternal joy. Let us knock at its gate with diligence and with  perseverance. Let us not be discouraged from knocking. The latch will be opened. If we have read a page of the Bible two or three times and have not understood it, let us not be tired of re-reading it and meditating on it. Let us seek in the fountain of this garden `a spring of water welling up to  eternal life.' [John 4:14] We shall taste a joy that will  never dry up, because the grace of the Bible garden is  inexhaustible.

- from On the Orthodox Faith

(Translation by Thomas Spidlik, Drinking from the Hidden Fountain: A Patristic Breviary, Cistercian Publications, Kalamazoo, MI - Spencer, MASS, 1994)

 

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