I am back doing less work and projects right now, and more reading. I recently finished “Making God Real in the Orthodox Christian Home” by Fr. Anthony Coniaris, which was lent to me by a dear local friend. Thank you, dear friend.
There is something so peaceful and soothing about this book. When I get bogged down in “what is this all about – parenting, homeschooling, juggling all these balls in the air” – this book reminds me: “the primary lesson for children is to know the eternal God, the One Who gives everlasting life” (St. Clement). A balm for the mothering soul, and such a great simplifying thought.
This book is divided up into many small “chapters” or thoughts that take up as little as one and a half to four pages and whilst many of the things in this book are obviously specific to the Orthodox Christian faith, many things are just good thoughts for all Christian parents of any denomination. There are so many wonderful suggestions for praying the daily hours, discovering God-given talents, building strong family bonds, how to read the Bible at home, celebrating the liturgical year, the role of media, talking to your children about things. So many gems and nuggets in this book. I am going to buy my own copy and plan on reading all the books I can find by Fr. Coniaris. His writing is clear, practical, down to earth and appealing for mothers.
I just recently finished the book, “Gifts of the Desert: The Forgotten Path of Christian Spirituality” by Kyriacos Markides. Kyriacos Markides also wrote, “Mountain of Silence”, which many have told me was a book that was a turning point in their lives, but since my parish’s library (Episcopalian parish) had “Gifts of the Desert”, I started there.
This is such an illuminating and thought-provoking book about Orthodox Christian spirituality and also is highly readable. There is so much to digest in this book. My favorite parts were in thinking of the Church as in the mission of healing the split between man and God, how the medicine for fallen man is to follow the commandments of God in their lives and how the outcome of this can be seen in the tangible fruits of spiritual healing: the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, forbearance, goodness, gentleness, faith, etc). The Threefold Way of Orthodox Christianity is also highlighted, and such things as the different stages in a person’s relationship to God, and the need for spiritual alertness. There is much, much more in this book, and I am looking forward to reading “Mountain of Silence” as well. This book was such a good read!
The last book I recently read was Linette Martin’s “Sacred Doorways: A Beginner’s Guide to Icons” Linette Martin was not an Orthodox Christian,but an Anglican with an intense interest in Byzantine Art, which she studied about at Oxford University. I love this description of icons, one of many gems in this book,: “They are designed to be doors between this world and another world, between people and the Incarnate God, his Mother, or his friends, the saints.” There are chapters regarding what are icons, the history of icons, the icon makers, materials and techniques, portable icons and painted icon panels, the visual language of icons, how God, Angels and people are portrayed in icons, the festal cycle in iconography, the special qualities of icons, and icons and how to use them in prayer.
I would love to hear what you have been reading this summer! Please leave a comment in the box below…