Transformation or Just More Information

I have offered reflective material on the need to seek in our encounter with the Holy Scriptures and its encounter with us the true content not just more information. I have said it before, and I will say it again: “As we seek to move ahead in our desire continue to be being transformed in the Spirit into the likeness of Christ, we need to be alert to the temptation to replace transform-ation with inform-ation… For all of us in the ‘West’ who live in the wake of the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment, it is an ever-present danger.”

Here is a quote I found while reading through the comments to one of Fr. Stephen’s posts. It is a saying by Elder Elder Aimilianos of the Holy Mountain. Enjoy:

“When one undertakes to examine Scripture in an idle, intellectual way, he creates hatred and quarrelling. Why? Because the intellectual approach to Scripture does not help us turn and reflect on our sins, but instead makes us focus on problems and concepts related to the study of Scripture – as a result our logical and intellectual faculties are aroused to no real purpose. “Knowledge” by itself adds nothing. On the contrary, it encourages the cultivation of the individual and his private sense of things; it fosters the self-sufficiency of his own personal opinions, which he then seeks to justify and impose on others. This kind of approach to Scripture immediately places you in conflict with others; it opposes your will and opinion to theirs, prompting you to disagree and argue with them, and to make enemies of your brothers. Filled as I am with my own opinions about things, I am not able to receive anything from God.

[…]It’s one thing to read Scripture because you want to collect information, and another thing to read it because you want to acquire its true content, that is, the Holy Spirit. This kind of knowledge is the life of God (cf. Jn 17:3), the entry and extension of God into our life; it is God’s descent and dwelling among us. We can judge whether or not our study of Scripture is authentic based on the number of tears we shed when we study. To be sure, I can also read Scripture without shedding tears, and without a strong sense of my sins, but with the hope that God’s grace, through my reading of Scripture, will break open my hardened heart. Read Scripture, then, but don’t forget about your sins and reduce Scripture to an object of intellectual inquiry, for at that point it ceases being the word of God and you start seeing it as something human. The criterion for your study should be this: the way you read the Bible should bring peace to your heart, communion with God, love of neighbors, and the consciousness of your own sinfulness: the recognition of how unworthy and ill-prepared you are to stand before God.” Elder Aimilianos, On Abba Isaiah

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