On Reading the Apocalypse

St. Barsanuphius of Optina 1845-1913

In the Apocalypse it is said: Blessed is he that readeth the words of this book. If this is written, it means that it is really so, for the words of the Sacred Scripture are the words of the Holy Spirit. But in what does this blessedness consist? The more so, in that people may object that we do not understand anything of what is written. Perhaps it consists in the consolation to be gained from reading the Divine words. One can also think as follows: that which is not understood by us now will become understandable when the time described comes to pass. Judge for yourselves. Who reads the Apocalypse now? Almost exclusively those who live in monasteries and in theological academies and seminaries – they have to. But in the world hardly anyone reads it. Clearly, then, he who reads the Apocalypse before the end of the world will be truly blessed, for he will understand what is taking place. And in understanding he will prepare himself. In reading he will see in the events described in the Apocalypse one or other of the events contemporary with him. (Russia Before the Second Coming, pg. 79)

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