St. Isaac on Reading Holy Scripture

St. Isaac the Syrian died ca. 700

We should consider the labor of reading to be something extremely beneficial; its importance cannot be exaggerated. For it serves as the gate by which the intellect enters into the divine mysteries and takes strength for attaining luminosity in prayer: it bathes with enjoyment as it wanders over the acts of God’s dispensation which have taken place for the benefit of humanity…From these acts prayer is illumined and strengthened — whether it be that they are taken from the spiritual Scriptures, or from things written  by the great teachers in the Church on the topic of the divine dispensation; or among those who teach the mysteries of the ascetic life. These two kinds of reading are useful for the man of the spirit… Without reading the intellect has no means of drawing near to God: Scripture draws the mind up and sets it at every moment in the direction of God; it baptizes it from this corporeal world with its insights and causes it to be above the body continually. There no other toil by which someone can make better progress. Provided that person is reading Scripture for the sake of truth, these sorts of things he will discover from it. (The Spiritual World of St. Isaac the Syrian by Hilarion Alfeyev pg. 175)

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